Explosion, athleticism, speed, strength, these are all words that describe New York Giants strong safety Jabrill Peppers. In college, Peppers was known as one of the most exciting kick return specialists in the country, but the Giants have taken a different route with the defender. After suffering a season-ending hip injury on a punt return last year, utilizing him in that way is no longer an efficient method.
The Giants need to be desperately careful with their best players, as losing Peppers last season forced Julian Love into an unexpected role, which he managed to perform adequately in. However, Jabrill was on pace for one of his best seasons in the NFL.
In 2019, he posted 76 combined tackles, five tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, five passes defended, and one interception, in just 11 games. He nearly replicated or improved in every category.
Peppers has been working hard this off-season to increase his strength and speed on the playing field. The Giants made significant efforts to improve their defense, drafting free safety Xavier McKinney and signing a bevy of free agents to upgrade the linebacker position. Peppers should ultimately benefit from these moves, as it will provide him with more support in the secondary and allow him to be more diverse.
A change in scheme for the New York Giants:
Big Blue also went out and hired new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who utilizes a man coverage heavy scheme and blitzes frequently on passing downs. I expect to see Peppers playing a versatile role that adapts to the opposing team’s play style. Having a player of his athletic ability gives Patrick Graham a lot more room to work with.
As a New York native, Peppers feels the need to prove his worth in his hometown. He is extremely confident and self-motivated, and I believe 2020 could be a monster season for the strong safety.