It’s no secret that Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn values athleticism and speed more so than anything when drafting players. And in trying to determine who he, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff will target with their first-round pick, look no further than Michigan athlete Jabrill Peppers.
The Atlanta Falcons Should Draft Jabrill Peppers
One would have to think that if the Falcons draft Peppers, he would be in a heated battle with Ricardo Allen for the teams’ starting free safety position. There’s a great chance that he wins the job outright during training camp, but one thing is for certain: he will be on the field more times than not in his rookie season no matter where he lines up.
Peppers ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and was a top performer in the broad jump. And at 5-foot-11, 213 pounds, he isn’t far off from being a perfect scheme fit on Quinn’s defense. Peppers has started to slide down NFL mock drafts as of late, and that could play perfectly into the Falcons’ draft plans. Picking second to last in the first round is never fun, but it could turn out to be one of the best things that ever happens to the franchise’s immediate future.
A Future All-Pro Punt Returner
Not only would they be drafting a solid player on defense, they would be drafting their future punt returner as well. The team parted ways with veteran returner Eric Weems and who better to fill that spot than with one of the most dynamic returners to come out of the draft in the last decade?
Peppers won’t be a homerun pick, and isn’t going to make a tremendous impact right from the start, but with a little work he could turn into a terrific player under Quinn. Players like Brian Poole, Jalen Collins, Deion Jones, and Keanu Neal are just a taste of what the Falcons head coach can do with players that many draft experts didn’t think were all that good.
There’s no guarantee that Peppers will still be on the board when the Falcons are on the clock with the 31st pick in the draft, but if he is, expect them to think long and hard about drafting him right then and there.