Two-year starter who finished fifth in Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior. Earned Consensus All-American honors in 2016 after making 71 tackles (15 for loss) with 3.5 sacks and an interception, rushing for 167 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and returning a punt for a touchdown. First player in Big Ten history to win three individual awards (Defensive Player, Linebacker and Return Specialist of the Year). Received Second Team All-American recognition in 2015.
Dynamic athlete who impacts the game on defense, special teams and occasionally offense. Plays with a tough, nasty attitude, gives effort defending the run and fast moving to every direction of the field. Displays a terrific change of direction, explosive at the point of attack and sacrifices his body or flies around the action to make the tackle. Hard hitter that consistently squares and wraps up ball handlers. Possesses tremendous recovery and closing speed, plays with a large degree of suddenness and agile. Occasionally lined up over the slot receiver and shows the ability to make plays in space. Above average ball skills, game breaking return specialist and flashes ability as a ball carrier or pass catcher.
Gets mixed up in zone coverage and struggles with his reads on occasion. Does not play with balance or body control at running back. May be a scheme specific player.
Peppers is all over draft boards but the combination of athleticism, attitude and ability to impact games puts him high on our board. We like Peppers as a strong safety that can play over the slot receiver and be used to return punts and kicks. Peppers offers tremendous upside and if properly coached will have a big-time NFL career.