Mel Kiper's First Mock Draft Gives Ravens Dynamic Defender Jabrill Peppers

19_Peppers_news.jpg


In his first mock draft last year, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper predicted that the Ravens would select Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6-overall pick. Three-and-a-half months later, Stanley walked across the draft stage with a Ravens hat.

With that in mind, fans may want to pay attention to Kiper's pick this year.

Kiper is predicting the Ravens will beef up their defense by selecting dynamic Michigan safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers at No. 16 overall.

Peppers finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy race last season and is a versatile player that fits the mold of today's NFL.

"The Harbaugh connection is interesting here. Who has better intel on Peppers than his college coach, Jim Harbaugh?" Kiper wrote.

"Peppers is a fantastic talent, but he's a tweener and is more of a rover back. He could be an in-the-box safety or linebacker who helps in run support and goes out and covers slot receivers and tight ends. The right team will get creative with him and get a star playmaker."

Peppers finished his junior season with 68 tackles, four sacks and one interception. He only had one interception in his three-year career, however.

What makes Peppers so alluring is his versatility. He can play safety, cornerback, linebacker and returner. He even was used as a running back at times because of his athleticism.

Defenses have been looking for players fast enough to cover wide receivers yet big enough to hold up against tight ends, and the 6-foot-0, 210-pound Peppers could be just that.

However, the Ravens already have a more in-the-box safety with veteran Eric Weddle. Lardarius Webb, who some media members have speculated could be a salary-cap casualty, was more of the centerfielder.

Kiper projected Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, who is more of a ball-hawking player who had seven interceptions last season, including three returned for touchdowns, one pick later to the Washington Redskins at No. 17.

"They're two completely different styles," Kiper said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "Malik is a centerfielder with great ball skills; he's not the enforcer, the aggressive tackler that some other guys are. Peppers can play a lot of roles for a creative defensive coordinator."

Kiper compared Peppers to Arizona Cardinals linebacker/safety Deone Bucannon, a first-round pick in 2014 who was named to the NFL's All Rookie Team and has had three strong seasons.

The ESPN draft analyst said the Ravens could take a cornerback at No. 16, but unless a top talent like Florida's Teez Tabor (No. 13 to the Cardinals) or Florida's Quincy Wilson (No. 14 to the Philadelphia Eagles) slips, he thinks "the safeties will have a higher grade."

"They got to get a corner, they got to get a safety," Kiper said of the Ravens.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising