Kinkhabwala: ‘Kevin Colbert Loves Jabrill Peppers’

Will the Pittsburgh Steelers ultimately draft Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft? It will be a little more than two weeks before we find out the answer to that question but according to one major media reporter, the Steelers really like the versatile player.

“I can tell you at that 30th pick, GM Kevin Colbert loves Jabrill Peppers,” Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network reported Monday. “Will he actually be available, that of course will be the big question.”

Peppers, who had to play at linebacker in 2016 at Michigan due to team needs, has made it clear several times throughout the pre-draft process that he considers himself a safety. Last season he registered 72 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and one interception as a linebacker.

During his 2015 season as a defensive back, Peppers recorded 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and a career-high 10 defensed passes. However, it should be noted that his interception last season was the only one he recorded in the 27 games that he appeared in at Michigan.

At this year’s scouting combine, Peppers measured in at 5107, 213-pounds and he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.46 seconds. While he is a very intriguing and versatile player, as he also returned punts and kickoffs at Michigan in addition to be used occasionally with success at running back, it’s really hard to envision him being the Steelers first-round selection this year based on his overall lack of experience at any one position at the college level.

While Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin both attended the Michigan pro-day this year, Peppers has yet to come to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit. While it’s not necessary for him to do so in order to be the Steelers first-round pick, as we have seen the last two years with cornerback Artie Burns and outside linebacker Bud Dupree, one would think that Peppers would likely need to visit with the team in Pittsburgh being as he’s coming out of college as a third-year sophomore.

If the Steelers do ultimately wind up drafting Peppers, one would think they would do so with the intention of playing him as a nickel-backer or slot cornerback in their sub-package defense as both starting safety spots are already spoken for.

Peppers has already been mocked to the Steelers in the first round by several major media draft analysts if you’re scoring at home.

  • Steelers12

    no Colbert i have arranged you into a marriage with Obi

  • steelersfan

    Man aditi certainly has a lot of inside information these days….Where it’s coming from is beyond me.

  • Ray Powell

    Can you say smokescreen?

  • Douglas Andrews

    I can see the fascination with Peppers. The guy plays multiple positions on Defense as well as RB/KR/PR. That some serious versatility. If the Steelers draft Peppers I’d be okay with it. They do have to improve on 3rd down defense. Maybe Peppers helps them in that area?

  • Matthew Marczi

    She’s been embedded with the team for a couple of years now.

  • CP72

    They seem pretty intent on drafting a safety early Peppers, Maye, Obi, Baker….all names that you’d expect to go in the first two rounds. Must be serious about getting into that dime package more frequently.

  • steelersfan

    Have a feeling if the pats were to select this guy at 32, people would need a clean pair of shorts….if we were to get him though, 2 picks before, everyone would be throwing their hands up in the air…just saying haha

  • harding36

    There’s not a lot of sentiment for Peppers in the first round around here, but I think guys like him are the key to beating the Patriots. Hybrid run/pass defenders to match their versatility. If Colbert really loves him, that’s why.

  • Gerald Brown

    Hahaha Obi going to the Bucs

  • steeltown

    Indeed. I certainly hope so…

  • LucasY59

    but I dont trust most of it…

  • george

    Isn’t she the same reporter that claimed AB had a hissy fit when DW scored the TD rather than throwing it to him? If so that turned out to be completely false so maybe her being embedded with the team doesn’t mean so much. Not saying Colbert doesn’t like Peppers but this time of year sports reporters will make up stories just to get a headline.

  • LucasY59

    I could see the Colbert and Tomlin falling for him because he has pretty good measurables as well as a some impressive highlights, but I think there is a guy with even better measurables in Melifonwu, who fits what they would want to do with Peppers better

    Obi actually has the size to play the S/LB hybrid nickle backer/money backer/Dime position that Jabril would play as a rookie (because the team already has Davis and Mitchell) Obi also has more experience as a Safety and better coverage skills, and would be a better matchup against TEs which is important for the Steelers (because its a current weakness)

    the only thing Peppers has going for him is his return ability and Tomlin doesnt seem to want Defensive players making returns (unless it is off a TO, which Peppers hasnt shown much ability to create those…)

    I am 100% on board with taking a S with the 1st pick, but it should be Melifonwu instead of Peppers

  • Steelers12

    i dont think he going that high

  • Jason

    Saved me a lot of typing. She’s another blowhard.

  • Alan Tman

    I have never heard Colbert talk about anyone before the draft. This sounds like a bait and switch. Lol

  • Alan Tman

    She lives here too.

  • Steel Your Face

    Colbert would never say a statement like that on the record. That’s whatever you’re talking about for ya, Aditi…! Man, she is bad at her job..

  • MC

    I would hate this pick at 30. Im hoping they’re smoke screening cause I don’t recall Colbert confessing his love for any pick leading up to the draft.

  • Ni mo

    Peppers coverage skills are poor

  • Matthew Marczi

    And her husband is a diehard fan, haha.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He wouldn’t say that he likes a player?

  • Darth Blount 47

    Look, I will say this, he checks some of the notorious “boxes” that have been getting so much pub.

    And I will add that I thought he interviewed really well on television. Seems like a pretty humble, down-to-earth, but also fiery guy.

    Lastly, he’s overcome quite a bit of stuff in his life. Much like Artie Burns. So he has the sympathetic backstory that Colbert/Tomlin seem to like. I won’t be shocked if they take him. But I won’t exactly be ecstatic about it personally, either. I’ve been on the fence about Peppers from months ago, and I’m still on the fence about him two and 1/2 weeks before the draft.

  • Matthew Marczi

    She acknowledged the next day that it was the wrong play. Either way Brown throwing a hissy fit is a common occurrence and even the Post-Gazette guys acknowledged that.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Only one interception for a guy as athletic as him is a real red flag to me.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I think Josh Jones and Marcus Williams may go in round 2 as well. Rounds 2 and 3 are going to be Safety/CB central.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I would indeed need a clean pair of shorts, considering the Saints own the 32nd pick…
    🙂

  • MC

    Completely agree. It seems like Peppers best skill is his return ability and I don’t want a jack of all trades master of none defender with the first pick. Would take Obi over him in a heartbeat.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Said it before and I’ll say it again… I’d take either Obi or Josh. I think both are dynamic, over Peppers.

  • Darth Blount 47

    She didn’t quote him, she just stated what she believes is Colbert’s opinion.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Remember, she wasn’t quoting him.

  • harding36

    He wasn’t really asked to cover much, so it’s hard to say.

  • steelmann58

    I think someone is blowing smoke here

  • MC

    ahh ok, I’ve come straight to the comments haha. Still hope it doesn’t happen!

  • Jason Vancil

    I heard an old head say many years ago, around Draft time, believe nothing you hear. I am sure Peppers is ranked in their Top 25 or so players and he fits as a S/Sub LB, so he’ll be considered if available, but this is virtually meaningless. What was the context? Why would Colbert or someone else in the organization say this to a Reporter who he knows will make it public. Unless this is a kind of dis-information.

  • steelers_26

    At 6’4 225 with a 4.40 time 44inch vert he could be an amazing WR hahaha

  • KiJana Haney

    I never believe aditi or any NFL network reporter for information. I do believe that we will go for the best player available in the first. I think it will end up being a cb at the end of the day. A safety would not surprise me but I am a fan of the mitchell and davis combination. Hopefully they just go for a safety

  • Steelers12

    He will be an all pro safety for 7 years. He ain’t no palomalu but then again who is

  • T3xassteelers

    I am so split on him. College tape isn’t GREAT, but he’s just a freak athlete and Tomlin and Colbert probably feel if they put him to one position he will be the next great defensive player; which he definitely has the potential for. I would love the pick, but there’s guys I want a bit more.

  • Ike Evans

    Makes sense…not a defensive playmaker but solid, plays multiple positions, fast, has trouble tackling……sounds like the kinda guy they like

  • Ike Evans

    Aditi has a really good track record with us actually

  • WilliamSekinger

    Im with you on this. I dont think Colbert would willingly telegraph exactly who he is interested in in the first round.

  • PaeperCup

    “love” is a strong word.

  • steelersfan

    Haha slipped my mind. But still stand by my point

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Man if it’s a safety in the first round, I’d rather have Budda or Obi, but I’ll get behind anyone we draft. I’ll that ish like it’s no tomorrow!

  • Ryan Alderman

    Haha!

  • Steelers12

    I totally understood and agree with your point

  • Jay Hallauer

    Most overrated player in the draft. God please no

  • Ed Smith

    You are dead on here!! All those on the “Peppers Train” need to go take a serious look at him play. Consistently failed to cover NFL level receivers. Seems to have lack quickness, especially change of direction. Seems to be consistently taken out by blockers and able to disengage. A SERIOUS mistake taking this guy… Obi fits the bill from measurable to performance. I will throw up if Colbert takes Peppers at 1.30!!!

  • Darth Blount 47

    The strongest and most beautiful word of all…
    Well, after “Steelers.”
    😉

  • Steel Your Face

    That’s a good point but I’m afraid conjecture coming from this source is dangerous, in my opinion. And it could absolutely be that some things that she said in the past hasn’t panned out. I just don’t remember Colbert ever saying anything specific about a certain player, prior to the draft. Also, I need to remind mice elf of what the definition of a ‘fanatic’ is on a more frequent basis…

  • Darth Blount 47

    So when you listen to the whole interview, I think there was actually a better headline than the one about Peppers. She said:

    “The truth of the matter is that this is a team that absolutely needs to upgrade its entire pass defense. Now that starts obviously, with pass rushers. Jarvis Jones is gone, but that’s someone that they felt was under-achieving a little bit. I can tell you at that 30th pick, that GM Kevin Colbert loves Jabrill Peppers. Will he actually be available, that of course is a big question. But it’s not just the pass rushers, the Defense also needs a lot of help in the back-end. We’ve had 5 Safeties and 1 CB come here to this facility for private workouts.

    THE STEELERS WILL TAKE, THE BEST AVAILABLE PLAYER, BE IT A SAFETY OR A CB, WHEN IT IS THEIR TURN. At least that’s what I was told today. They need to be able to play Man coverage, and that’s not something we’ve seen.”

  • Steel Your Face

    I just don’t ever remember him saying anything worded,(…’love’) about a specific player in the past, prior to the draft. That’s why I was sort of taken aback.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I loved the Sly and the Family Stone reference, lol.

    I just commented above what her whole interview actually said. And I agree. Either she was propagating a smokescreen for Colbert and the Steelers, which is possible. OR she just let the cat out of the bag, about just where it is that the Steelers ARE in fact going at 30. At least as a pre-draft plan. I guess only time will tell. But if we draft a CB or a Safety, then she just let that info slip. Read what I wrote above.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Just my opinion and I could be way off but I would not be a fan if it ends up being Peppers at all. There will be players left among T. White, K. King, C. Awuzie, D. Melifonwu, and B. Baker. I would take any of these players over Peppers in a second. I would even take J. Davis or D. Nijuko over Peppers if they were available. Hopefully they take the BPA among the first five.

  • Roger G

    “Hmmm…I woooooonder who it could be? Well now…could it be, oh I don’t know…..Mahomes..!?!”
    -Dana Carvey “The Church Lady”

  • Joe Jackson

    Would rather Peppers 10x over Njoku or Lawson.

  • Matthew Marczi

    She probably used ‘love’ to transcribe his level of enthusiasm.

  • Joe Jackson

    I think the stink on him is that he hasn’t produced at S.. he also has played just about ever skill position on offense in addition to S, LB, CB and return man. He hasn’t had time to perfect his craft! The dude is an athlete

  • Bobby hains

    Arrr there she blows captain!

  • Bobby hains

    Bingo!

  • Bobby hains

    I think we pick Carl Lawson OLB.

  • Bobby hains

    I hear ya MC… Waste of #1 pick.. IMO we should go OLB or ILB maybe the guy jarrard from Florida over peppers anyway

  • Bobby hains

    I think it’s possibly a smoke screen the reason I say that is because the Steelers wouldn’t make it so obvious who they totally like this year due to the fact over the past 3yrs the Bungals & ratbirds have jumped on players the Steelers we’re very high on picking! As we most Steelers fans know.. The TE. Baltimore took right before our pick also bungals purposely took the CB last year that C. Lake mentioned sorry I don’t remember there excat names but just to name the positions ..they pulled that stunt several times on us including Kansas city jumping on CB Peters that one still stings!!

  • MC

    I think an ILB could be taken rather high also. Wish they took Zach Brown so they didn’t have to address that position with a pick however. I expect CB, ILB and OLB in the first three rounds.

  • Dubb Betts

    Please please please. I feel like he’s the guy to allow the defense to play different styles. Last year Steelers got killed by RB’s out the backfield. He would help with that alot. And he’s good enough to where you can take VW off the field on passing situations. Add him to shazier Harrison Dupree tuitt heyward and the run defense is ferocious. If we draft peppers I’ll buy a jersey the next day

  • Bobby hains

    I agree on your assessment also I’m wondering like you why they didn’t pick up z. Brown too??

  • Bobby hains

    I do have to say the Steelers front office needs to make better choices etc. When it comes to free agency

  • Matthew Marczi

    They don’t think he’s an upgrade over Vince Williams.

  • Bobby hains

    I like v. Williams also but brown covers a bit better in coverage they need depth as well

  • Ni mo

    Go look at his tape on bleacher report he covered a lot

  • Ni mo

    Nope alligator arms naw not first round I would take ChArles Harris

  • mrallnite111 .

    From day 1, Jabrill will be the best tackler in our secondary! Now before you reply, might I suggest you look at both of their highlights on YouTube.. Watch the difference in their reaction time to the football… [Obi Missed some Tackles]

  • mrallnite111 .

    Peppers is the better tackler, he’s the better football player. ( period ) compare their YouTube high- lights

  • PaeperCup

    SO I love the Steelers is the most beautiful phrase in the world.

    My wife once asked me which I loved more, her or the Steelers. I responded with a “well, there are different types of love.” Slept on the couch that night.

  • Conserv_58

    I laughed out loud at the quote, “Jarvice Jones is gone, but that’s someone they felt was under-achieving a little bit.” That was a grossly understated comment. The obvious truth of Jarvice Jones’ time in Pittsburgh was that he was a monumental bust.

  • Conserv_58

    Precisely.

    Seasoned GM’s like, Colbert are very savvy at using the media in their quest to keep other teams guessing as to whom they’re going to draft and when.

  • Conserv_58

    Did you read Wexell’s article on Shaheen?

  • Conserv_58

    For me, it’s the fact that he never specialized at any one position in college that I take umbrage with. That’s not his fault either since it has more to do with how he was used in college. He’s essentially a very talented young man without a clearly defined position that gives a lot of GM’s pause as to where he would fit in the best. That in itself is why I think Colbert is employing a bit of a smoke-n-mirrors job with the media.

  • Steve Johnson

    He isn’t Troy P, taking him at #30 would be a huge mistake! OLB/CB is the way to go. They need better pass rushers, a reliable #2 WR/TE, and somebody that can play the slot. This will probably be William Gay last year, draft a top notch CB now.They can draft a safety later in the draft, there should be plenty left.

  • Darth Blount 47

    That is funny as hell! Not the sleeping on the couch part, but the … well… ya know. 😉

  • budabar

    Jack of all trades but is he a master at any – if not then he becomes a wasted pick

  • Steelers12

    i believe Obi ceiling is way higher

  • Mark

    I think Jabril would be an excellent replacement for Mike Mitchell. We all see the inabilities of Mitchell to play centerfield.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Yeah can’t take that away from him. He’s a talented guy. He seems to be a fit for the in the box safety/Lb especially on passing downs. We might see his name called if he’s still on the board at #30

  • george

    So it’s OK to incorrectly report what a player did because “it’s a common occurrence?” And she didn’t correct it initially. Only after it was brought to her attention did she correct it. We all make mistakes but if you get paid to report what happens during a game on national TV you should at least look at the film (like everyone else did) before making comments that shed a poor light on a player’s character.

  • Brandon Campbell

    No way OBI isn’t as dynamic!

  • Biggie

    I’d have no problems with Peppers at all, he does whatever it takes to help his team. The fact he played alot of LB was more of a issue with there being little to noone else to play there and they needed him. Put him in a specific situation and I think he’ll thrives at it. I think he’ll be an even better pro. Honestly I like alot of Safeties in this draft. Peppers, Obi, Baker, Jones, Evans, Maye, Thompson, Nicholson can be had throughout the draft and all would fit.

  • Brandon Campbell

    Love Budda! OBI is overrated at this point but does have a high ceiling

  • Joseph Cole-world Moore

    Peppers is a trap. He is not particularly good at anything he is just solid. He will be a better offensive player than defensive. He CANNOT cover an NFL WR or TE. If the steelers intend to add in a lot of man coverage then why would you draft someone who is not exceptional at man coverage. Even as a safety he was not that good. After watching tape you walk away unimpressed. If hes a safety he would be a box safety and he will never be better than Mitchell or Davis (especially Davis). Takk, CB, or QB (i still think we should wait and take Mahomes or Peterman later) round 1

  • Aj Gentile

    Please no. Why take a safety who hasn’t played safety in the first round?

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I start by saying that I have no draft crush this year and prefer to trade down into early/mid 2nd round to accumulate another early pick. But, Peppers wouldn’t be a bad choice at #30 (or early-2nd).

    I think it depends on who is left on the board at #30, but Peppers is better than most are giving him credit for. I see him being a cross (athletically) between Carnell Lake and Troy Polamalu. Just like both, he likely needs some training up. This comparison doesn’t mean he is a future hall of famer, but I think he has a better chance than most options at #30.

    Obi’s numbers are eye-popping but he is not the do-it-all safety/linebacker hybrid people are making him out to be due to his size. He is a combine warrior who is now likely overhyped. If I had to put money on who would be the better pro between Obi/Peppers, I’m choosing Peppers all day long. Some guys just have the “it” factor, and Peppers has “it” as well as size/speed/athletic ability.

    Finally, I also see S. Davis as a better fit for the Free safety spot currently manned by Mitchell (look at his past as a CB and his size/tackling). This is why I think Peppers adds more than the free safety prospects in this draft. I think Peppers could be in a dime LB hybrid role (and a return role if Tomlin lets him) in year 1 and potentialy be ready to take over full time SS role in 2018.

  • Steelers12

    What can peppers really do and at what position

  • John Pennington

    Do not waste the first round pick on Peppers.Shows nothing in is tapes and is not a 1st round pick. There are players way better than he is dont waste this pick.

  • Connor McKane

    Sure, I love him too….as a 4th or 5th rounder

  • Gerald Brown

    He might not. I just read the Bucs are really interested in him and they do have a need at safety. They held a private workout for him.

  • Steelers12

    If he obi is gone i still don’t want peppers

  • Gerald Brown

    Why not? Just curious

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I don’t think he’s overrated I think he reminds me of Sean Davis to be honest and we got him already! Budda is a spark plug and disruptive force!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Not yet.

  • Matthew Marczi

    How can you correct something before you realize it’s incorrect? Interesting approach. Brings up some existential and temporal questions. Does it even matter what play it was that Brown was pouting on?

  • Steelers12

    i don’t see him as nothing but an another Taylor Mays out of USC now i could be wrong and if Steelers draft him i hope i am

  • Gerald Brown

    Got it! Only a couple of weeks left until we see. Can’t wait!

  • Quan Hurst

    YES!!! Draft Peppers and one(or both) of them injured CB’s from washington or ucla in the 3rd

  • george

    She was wrong for reporting something happened when it didn’t. The fact that she had to be told she was wrong makes my point. You don’t “report ” a fact without checking it out unless you are a sloppy reporter or attempting to sensationalize it. Guess you’re ok with that.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You’re trying to act like this makes everything she reports untrue because she acknowledged the wrong play. That’s your prerogative, but doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

  • Steelers12

    Yeah draft should be fun, look forward to seeing your thoughts on it

  • george

    I didn’t say “everything” she reports is untrue. Reread my posts…..a little slower please.

  • Matthew Marczi