The New York Giants received safety Jabrill Peppers as a return piece in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade that also netted the No. 17 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. A questionable haul for the Giants given the generational talent Beckham brings to the field, but one that could pay dividends given general manager Dave Gettleman makes the right selection with the acquired first-round pick.
But, while the Giants now have Peppers manning the strong safety position, we have to consider the difference in talent when compared to Landon Collins.
The former Giant was a three-time Pro Bowler in four years, racking up 321 solo tackles, eight interceptions and 32 passes defended over the course of his career. When comparing the two, it’s fair to mention several different factors that provide value.
Peppers isn’t just a speedy safety, he also returns kicks at a high level. The dual-threat he brings to the team is exciting and should provide a boost in kick-return efficiency, especially after years of worry every time a no-name player would stand beneath an incoming punt.
Comparing Jabrill Peppers to Landon Collins – 2018 stats:
Peppers – 16 games, one INT, 5 Passes defended, three fumble recoveries, one sack, 79 combined tackles.
Collins – 12 games, four passes defended, one forced fumble, 96 combined tackles.
If there’s anything to take away from these numbers, it’s the tackle totals. Everything else is relatively comparable, but Collins was a monster when it came to wrapping players up. He’s the prototypical box-safety at 6’0″, 218-pounds. Peppers is 5’11”, 213-pounds, but has far more agility and speed than Collins.
According to PFF, Peppers graded out as the leagues 19th ranked safety (77.6 grade), while Collins ranked 39th overall with a 70.4 grade. Peppers’ grades in coverage were far better than Collins’, finishing 2018 with a 77.3 coverage grade. That’s an increase of 15.6 from his rookie year – seeing a spike in efficiency should provide a reason for excitement as Peppers enters his third season as a professional.
What does Jabrill Peppers bring to the New York Giants’ defense?
One of the most appealing aspects of Peppers is his versatility. In his rookie season he was thrown into the fire at free safety, a position he had never played before. He gained valuable knowledge there as his coverage grades jumped significantly in year two as stated above. He’s now able to play on the line of scrimmage with speed, drop back in coverage as a slot corner, and also play strong safety in the box. The Giants will utilize him as a “swiss army knife” in a sense, ensuring he’s played to his strengths.
Collins was more or less a one trick pony, playing the box on every down and excelling in the run. The Giants have consistently been one of the worst teams against opposing tight ends ever since Collins was drafted, and that’s no coincidence.
Another factor not mentioned is the price difference between the two. Peppers will earn a seldom $1.4 million in 2019, while Collins is earning an average of $14 million over six years with the Washington Redskins. Peppers being $12.6 million cheaper than Collins offers the Giants plenty of room for growth in 2020. They can effectively go out and sign a top offensive lineman or invest in a top-tier pass rusher.