Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns Trade Down, Land Jabrill Peppers

The Cleveland Browns trade down from #12 to #25 and grab Jabrill Peppers

BEREA, Ohio--The Browns passed on a safety from Ohio State and then took a safety from "The team up North."

After trading down from No. 12 and picking up a 2018 first-round draft choice from the Houston Texans, the Browns used the 25th overall pick to elect Jabrill Peppers from Michigan. 

"At the end of the day, I'm going to try and be the best player I can be," Peppers said when informed he's coming to Ohio State country. "If they hate me, they hate me."

Pro Football Weekly  listed Peppers as the second-best safety in the draft behind Malik Hooker. 

"Jack of all trades, has experience at CB, S, LB, RB, WR and KR. Great athlete with speed, body control and explosiveness. Makes plays. Very instinctive. Can play multiple positions at the next level. Excellent tackler in the open field. Showed in 2015 that he can play aggressive press coverage. Transitions quickly. Reacts well to the ball in the air. Has NFL kick returner talent."

Peppers (6-1, 205) had 125 tackles in his three-year career with just one interception. 

Peppers said he believes he's going to settle in at safety.

"I believe the best position is in the defensive backfield and returning some kicks," Peppers said in a conference call. "I'm going to be giving 200 percent, whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do."

Peppers didn't have a lot of turnovers in college and it has been a concern.

"Only one career interception is a concern, but he has shown he has good hands and ball reactions," Pro Football Weekly said. "Doesn't have the size to play linebacker at the NFL level."

Peppers was a three-time All-Big Ten Honoree and was the 2016 Paul Horning Award winner as the nation's most versatile player.

Pro Football Focus had this to say about Peppers. "Smooth, explosive athlete – can change directions, accelerate to top speed in a flash...Makes plays coming forward, especially when unblocked...Can beat blockers to the point of attack with his explosiveness when he’s able to attack downhill...Beat WR screen blocks with his quick recognition and closing speed...Impressive change of direction, recovery...Tackling is much improved from 2015, where he tended to overrun plays...Adds special teams value. Excellent elusiveness and vision as a punt returner and ranked No. 2 in PFF return grades in 2016."

PFF said Peppers' has some weaknesses. "Not physical in press coverage – gives too many free releases off the line of scrimmage...Will try to run around blockers instead of address head-on, can lose fits...Played out of position when lined up as a linebacker in 2016; lacks the strength, physicality to take on and defeat blockers at the point of attack...In zone coverage, whether deep or in the box, he tends to attack the first thing he sees, which gets him out of position; wants to find the ball too much...For such an elite athlete, he is consistently late to break and close on passes in front when in zone or off coverage...Lack of bulk, strength limits his effectiveness in coverage against tight ends."

Peppers played offense, defense and special teams at Michigan and he said he expects to return kicks and is open to playing on offense, if called upon. 

"I'm definitely open to do whatever they want me to do," he said. 

Hue Jackson said he plans on finding a place for Peppers on offense.

"He's a football player," Jackson said. "We're going to find a way to use him."

Peppers is very excited to join the Browns. 

"I'm a guy who is going to put it all on the line for the Browns," Peppers said. "I'm just excited to be part of the Browns. The skies the limit."

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