The New York Giants have elevated expectations for strong safety Jabrill Peppers in 2020. Considering they picked up the 5th-year option on his rookie deal, Peppers represents a starting player on defense and one with untapped potential.
During his two seasons with the Cleveland Browns between 2017-18, he was moved around the defense a bit to test different positions. Ultimately, they viewed him as a kick return specialist with defensive qualities, and not the other way around. At free safety in 2017, he struggled immensely to hold down the deep half the field. His first year in the NFL, he started at strong safety, posting a mere semblance of his production in 2019.
2017 stats: 13 games — 58 combined tackles, 1 TFL, 0 QB hits, 3 PD, 0 FF, 1 INT
2019 stats: 11 games — 76 combined tackles, 5 TFL, 2 QB hits, 5 PD, 3 FF, 1 INT
The reason I compare these two seasons is because he played strong safety in both. In two fewer games last year, Peppers showed immense growth with the Giants. He might be the only player that James Bettcher actually managed to advance.
The potential is there for Peppers to become an All-Pro athlete. He just hasn’t managed to put it all together just yet. Working tirelessly to increase his agility and strength this off-season, he looks lighter and more muscular than before.
The goal is to establish Jabrill as a leader on defense and a playmaker. His four turnovers in 2019 showed he has the ability to force fumbles and play well in coverage. With Xavier McKinney taking over at free safety, who racked up seven turnovers in college last year, the Giants have a lot of good playmakers to work with.
It is also important to note, the peppers only played 11 games and missed multiple easier matchups where he could’ve padded his stats even further.
Let’s take a look at what his stats might have looked like if he played all 16 games
2019 estimated stats: 16 games — 110 combined tackles, 7 TFL, 3 QB hits, 7 PD, 4 FF, 1 INT
Those are impressive numbers that tell an entirely different story. A slight improvement and a full 16 games healthy could work wonders for the 4th-year player.