Cleveland Browns fans will grow to love first round pick Jabrill Peppers

Apr 28, 2017; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns first round pick defensive back Jabrill Peppers talks to the media at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2017; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns first round pick defensive back Jabrill Peppers talks to the media at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

You my not like the Cleveland Browns’ second first round draft pick, but that will change.

The Cleveland Browns selecting Texas A&M EDGE Myles Garrett first overall in the 2017 surprised very few. But when the team traded down from the 12th selection to 25, many people raised their eyebrows.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson, safety Malik Hooker and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen were all on the board. The Browns opted for another player, coupled with an extra draft pick. That player, as everyone knows, became Jabrill Peppers, the do-it-all, Swiss Army Knife from the University of Michigan.

Peppers played all over the place for the Wolverines during his two full seasons in Ann Arbor, MI, which was both a blessing and a curse according to NFL Draft pundits across the country. Some believed the versatility meant he would have multiple potential positions to step in at once drafted.

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Others believed Peppers’ lack of a defined position would make his transition to the NFL even more difficult. A positive test for a diluted sample at the 2017 NFL Draft Combine only clouded Peppers’ draft stock.

So, it was slightly surprising when the Browns took Peppers with the 25th pick in the draft. The concerns were certainly fair. Is he going to play safety (and if so, which one)? What about his placement in Stage One of the NFL’s substance abuse program?

Those questions are answered, thanks to comments from general manager Sashi Brown and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. According to, Brown made it clear they are “comfortable” with Peppers and he “understands (the test) is something that he has to clean up.”

According to NFL Network’s Mike Silver via Dawgs by Nature, Williams told Peppers that he and Garrett were “(his) guys” and the two players he “wanted out of this draft.”

However, fans continue to voice their displeasure of the pick, even after two of the main concerns were addressed. This has a lot to do with the college Peppers attended – Michigan.

Many Ohio State fans are Browns fans, and therefore, are displeased with the Peppers pick. This is slightly confusing, since Browns fans praised Brian Hoyer, a below-average quarterback from OSU’s second-biggest rival – Michigan State.

Many people have moved past where Peppers went to college, as it should not matter at this point. I can personally guarantee not everyone has, though.

Regardless, it is time to look to the future. After watching nearly every one of Peppers’ 27 collegiate games, I am sure he is going to gain a lot of fans really soon.

First off, he is explosive with the ball in his hands.

Peppers is easily the Browns’ most dynamic return man since wide receiver Josh Cribbs left Cleveland. Last year, he averaged an 14.8 yards per punt return, according to ESPN stats, which was good for fourth in the nation.

He also added one touchdown, against Colorado, and had another called back due to penalty against Rutgers. Check out below what we should see regularly in Cleveland this fall!

Peppers was not Michigan’s primary kick returner, but he still averaged 26.0 yards per kick return on his 10 attempts, according to ESPN stats.

He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball, as evidenced by his strong return average and insane 11.1% touchdown-carry average (five touchdowns on 45 career carries), according to Fox Sports stats.

With coach Hue Jackson already saying Peppers will be sprinkled in on offense, it is only a matter of time before he creates a huge play with the ball in his hands. He is an instant adrenaline shot to the return game.

Peppers is also a natural leader.

In his time at Michigan, Peppers was a definite leader, while playing for the betterment of his team. Early last year, fifth-year-senior offensive lineman Ben Braden told “(Peppers is) a very good leader and he’s always out there encouraging people, he’s vocal, he works really hard and it’s showing on gameday.”

For a young team, it is going to be important to have younger players step forward and become leaders. Guys like left tackle Joe Thomas, cornerback Joe Haden and linebacker Demario Davis will not be in Cleveland forever.

Peppers is extremely motivated.

It is impossible to quantify how motivated Peppers is to prove many doubters wrong. He told reporters right after he was drafted that “(the Browns) are going to get 200 percent out of me. I’m just so excited for the opportunity.” His tweet below came after Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms called him the “most overrated” player in the draft last month.

It is strange that a former top five collegiate recruit, unanimous All-American, decorated award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist has even more to prove. But that is the reality of the situation. Last year, Peppers claimed “I was tired of being an almost kind of guy,” after a lot of hype following his redshirt freshman year had not translated into a whole lot of flash last year.

After that comment, Peppers went on to win a slew of awards and was in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

Peppers “almost” won the award. He was “almost” good enough to be the first safety selected. He was “almost” a top 10 pick. Peppers has broken the “almost” tag before, on his way to great things. Why expect anything different now?

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Now, Peppers is “almost” ready to break into the NFL with a bang. And his explosiveness, leadership and motivation will get him a lot of fans really quickly.