Measurables: 6'0" 205 lbs.
Games Watched: Michigan State (2015), Penn State (2015), Minnesota (2015), Iowa (2016), Colorado (2016), Rutgers (2016), Central Florida (2016)
Summary: Despite all the hype during the season and his nomination as a Heisman candidate, I failed to see the defensive production and value in Peppers. Has played at cornerback, linebacker, and safety.
His athletic gifts are astounding, having amazing quickness, stop-start quickness, and great functional play strength for his size.
Excels as a close to the line blitzer. Very good at anticipating/timing snap count and using superior burst and speed to loop around and speed past offensive linemen. Has excellent closing speed on tackles. On screen passes will drive back blockers and shed to make play. Will set the edge hard against the run.
Has athletic ability to run deep with receivers and tight ends, and can effectively jam at the line of scrimmage if his hand placement hits, but will often lunge and miss, giving receiver a free release. To often hops and makes little jumps instead of firing feet and having smooth footwork in press and off man. Flat footed in off-man, often playing "catcher" but can be to grabby with receivers when they try to come out of their breaks. Not fluid in his backpedal. Excellent stop-start quickness to drive on receiver when ball is in air. Will get lost in zone coverage, coving air. Panics when the ball is in the air. Shows poor ball awareness and ability to track ball in air. This is further evidenced by his one career INT.
Had several missed assignments in games I watched in which he gave up touchdowns. Was responsible as deep safety, but let eyes get caught in backfield and was late coming out his disguise to the deep middle, allowing a receiver to run deep for a TD. Overly reliant on athleticism to get him out sticky situations.
Not a consistent wrap up tackler. Will lead with his shoulder for the big hit, which will allow some players to side step or bounce off for extra yards.
Dynamic kick and punt returner. Shows excellent vision, acceleration, and speed.
As a wildcat quarterback and wide receiver showed fluidity in running and good vision. Might be most impactful at next level as a Wide Receiver if he has good hands.
Difficult evaluation because he has overly relied on his superior natural gifts, letting his technique suffer terribly because of it. He will need lots of coaching and time at the next level to develop into a player that be an asset in pass defense, as opposed to just as an in-the-box safety and blitzer. Has all the tools. Doubt he will ever be ball hawk or cover safety who makes many INT's as ball skills are lacking. I think as of right now he only provides value as a return man, a blitzer, and someone who you can use on offense to add an extra wrinkle. High Ceiling, low floor. 6.6 - 2nd Round.