New York Giants: 3 players that need to step up on defense in 2020

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

2.) Jabrill Peppers

Peppers was having a solid campaign in 2019 before he suffered a season-ending injury on a punt return. Peppers made the transition from free safety to strong safety, replacing Landon Collins on the Giants’ defense. In his third year in the NFL, he played in 11 games, posting 76 combined tackles, 5 tackles for loss, forcing 3 fumbles, and recording 1 interception.

While he isn’t the best tackler, posting a 12.6% missed tackle rate in 2019, he’s incredibly athletic and brings a lot of potential with him.

Jabrill’s ability to drop into coverage and play in a free safety role makes him diverse and useful in different sets. Peppers performed well in his first year with the Giants, but there’s plenty of potential left to unearth. I anticipate Graham utilizing him in a variety of different ways, especially on schemed blitzes, and baiting quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage just to drop back into coverage. I estimate he will also play a lot of man coverage against tight ends.

The one thing I really like about Peppers that he is not scared to attack the line of scrimmage, pulling guards, running backs in the backfield; he possesses the ability and speed to make plays. Aside from his elite status in the kick returning department, his defense has improved exponentially over the past few years. He plays tough and physical, but he’s a bit undersized to fill in at linebacker, which is why the strong safety position fits him well.

When Gettleman acquired Peppers in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, he believed the Giants were gaining a very good safety, and he showed a glimpse of that last season. The Giants also picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, showing the confidence they have in the young defender.