Jabrill Peppers

AFC Rumors: Patriots, Johnson, Browns

An interesting what-if scenario emerged after the Patriots signed center David Andrews to a three-year extension. The UDFA success story, though, may have seen his Patriots path unfold differently if the team’s most recent draft had gone in another direction. Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports the Pats came close to drafting Indiana interior lineman Dan Feeney in the third round, but the Chargers stepped in and made the decision to bring the ex-Hoosiers blocker to Los Angeles with the No. 71 overall pick. New England, which held the No. 72 choice, then traded down and ended up selecting Youngstown State defensive end Derek Rivers at No. 83. Reiss notes Andrews’ three-year extension may not have come to fruition if Feeney was in the fold.

Here’s more from the AFC.

  • More from the defending champions: their recent extension for Super Bowl hero James White comes with some incentives that may be difficult to reach. White’s three-year, $12MM extension can max out at $15MM via playing-time and accomplishment bumps. White can earn $250K extra per season by playing in 50 percent of the Pats’ offensive snaps, with another $250K available to him if he suits up for 60 percent of their plays, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. Should White gain 1,000 total yards in a season, he would earn a $250K bonus. Another $250K would come his way if he gains 1,200 yards in a campaign. However, the 25-year-old Wisconsin product amassed a career-high 717 yards from scrimmage last season — one that mostly didn’t feature a healthy Dion Lewis. Plus, the Pats brought in Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead this offseason and could still have LeGarrette Blount in the fold after being the first team in 17 years to use the May 9 tender. White has maxed out at 38 percent of the Pats’ plays, so eclipsing 50 or 60 percent will be difficult going forward.
  • A training camp return remains the goal for 13th-year Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. The inside ‘backer said Sunday from a NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway, per Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star, he’s still on track to be ready by camp. “I’ll go back Texas after we break OTAs, get my body right,” the 34-year-old Johnson said. “That’s the plan. Be ready for camp.” Johnson has now suffered two severe Achilles injuries in a three-season period. The Chiefs did not draft a linebacker until Round 5 (Ukeme Eligwe out of Georgia Southern), and although Johnson accepted a paycut this offseason, the Chiefs are still counting on him to return to his post on their starting defense.
  • Jabrill Peppers missed the first day of Browns rookie minicamp by not signing a participation waiver, which lets rookies practice without having signed their contract. The rookie safety could not be drug tested until he did. However, the Michigan product did sign it and joined his first-year peers on Saturday and said the delay did not stem from any attempt to avoid a drug test. “I don’t know why you think of me like that, but everyone is entitled to an opinion,” Peppers said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Peppers will enter Stage 1 of the NFL’s drug program after a diluted sample resulted in a failed drug test at the Combine.

Browns Notes: Peppers, Brantley, Gordon

Jabrill Peppers reported to Browns rookie minicamp but did not practice today because, as an unsigned player, the safety did not sign a participation waiver that would have allowed him to work out without a contract, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Agent Todd France urged Peppers not to sign the standard participation document, per Cabot.

Peppers encountered a setback after a diluted sample at the Combine resulted in the Michigan talent failing a drug test. By not signing this waiver, Peppers can’t yet be drug tested, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who adds this tactic is quite rare. The participation agreement goes about ensuring a player, should he get injured like Dante Fowler Jr. was two years ago during the Jaguars’ rookie minicamp, would receive the same contract he would have if an injury had not occurred. Florio notes Peppers will be in Stage 1 of the NFL’s substance-abuse program once he signs. Should Peppers fail a test on this tier of the program, he would be upgraded to Stage 2, where suspensions and the loss of game checks could loom.

Here’s more from the Cleveland area.

  • A report from a since-fired ESPN Cleveland contributor Sabrina Parr indicated Peppers was already indulging in drugs upon arriving in Cleveland. Specifically, Parr said during a radio appearance that Peppers was “on the Lean and the Molly,” the former a Codeine-fueled concoction and the latter slang for ecstasy. Peppers denied those allegations today. “Absolutely not, never in my life,” Peppers said, via Cabot. “Whatever drugs she said I’ve done, I’ve never done in my life.” Regarding the diluted sample, Peppers told media today he over-hydrated at the Combine due to a history of cramping. Browns executive VP Sashi Brown called Peppers’ mistake at the Combine “a concern” when asked about it at the Browns’ post-draft press conference.
  • A Browns rookie in facing bigger trouble, Caleb Brantley attended rookie workouts today. He has not been charged for the alleged incident where he’s been accused of striking a woman in the face and dislodging a tooth due to conflicting witness reports. The defensive tackle’s attorneys allege “several women” were verbally abusing their client — with one punching him in the mouth, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com reports. Brantley’s attorneys say as their 22-year-old client attempted to push away the woman who struck him, his hand made contact with her face. The Browns are conducting their own investigation of the events that occurred at Gainesville, Florida, nightclub last month. Brown said after the draft the team wasn’t certain to keep the sixth-round pick, who remains mired in a legal investigation as well. “I’m looking forward to the facts coming out and the truth about what happened that night,” Brantley said today, via Ulrich. “But I can’t really speak on the legal situation.”
  • Hue Jackson said last year he was ready to move on from Josh Gordon, but Brown said earlier this offseason he was open to the embattled wideout returning. Today, Jackson was noncommittal on the still-suspended pass-catcher’s status with the Browns. “He’s not back, so I don’t even want to really get into that right now,” Jackson said, per Ulrich. “I wish Josh well, and we’ll cross all those bridges when we get there.” The 26-year-old Gordon was denied reinstatement on Thursday. He can reapply in the fall.
  • Isaiah Crowell signed his second-round RFA tender this week.

Draft Rumors: Broncos, Titans, Peppers

The latest NFL Draft rumors:

  • I’d caution you to take this with a grain of salt, but that disclaimer comes with most of the draft rumblings that you’ll hear today. The Broncos have talked to the Titans about trading up to the No. 5 pick, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets. The asking price might be too rich for the Broncos, Cole notes, but it’s at least something that they’re exploring.
  • It sounds like teams are more concerned with Jabrill Peppers‘ fit in an NFL defense than his diluted urine sample at the combine, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets. His stock, apparently, remains the same as it was a few weeks ago: he could go late in the first, but it’s more likely he goes in the second round, per Pelissero.
  • In a bit of a surprise, Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram is making a push to sneak into the first round, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). That could lead to three tight ends being taken in the first round between Alabama’s O.J. Howard, Miami’s David Njoku, and Engram. The Giants, Falcons, and Browns are among the potential fits for him in the No. 23-33 area, Pelissero tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Peppers, Redskins, Webb

A Redskins contingent including leading exec Bruce Allen worked out and had dinner with Jabrill Peppers in Ann Arbor last weekend, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), meanwhile, hears that the Redskins have explored trading into the late first round. The versatile Michigan product could be a target for them there as they seek secondary help. Some teams, meanwhile, might be shying away from Peppers after his diluted sample at the combine.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Rapoport (Twitter link) wouldn’t be surprised to see a team trade back into round one for Cal’s Davis Webb. One national scout said, “He has Dak [Prescott]-like intangibles.” Some executives seem to think that four quarterbacks could be taken in the first round and it’s possible that five QBs could go inside of the first 32 picks. Webb, by and large, is considered to one of the five best QBs in this class.
  • The Bills taking a defensive player at No. 10 overall seems to be the consensus right now, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets. Previously, we heard some buzz about Buffalo taking a quarterback with its top pick.
  • One connection to watch very closely is Miami tight end David Njoku and old coach Al Golden who now serves as the Lions‘ tight ends coach, Rapoport tweets. Some projections have Njoku coming off the board in the teens, so he might be gone before Detroit gets a chance to take him.

Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers Fails Drug Test

The NFL notified teams that Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers tested positive for a diluted sample at the combine, league sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Of course, this is awful timing for Peppers with the draft just days away. For what it’s worth, his reps at CAA say that he was not trying to mask a positive test (Facebook link): Jabrill Peppers (Vertical)

Peppers went to the combine. He was sick after flying there from San Diego. He has a history of cramping. Peppers was being pumped with fluids, drinking 8-10 bottles of water before he went to bed, because he was the first guy to work out two days for the LBs and DBs. He had to go through that first day, come back on second day, and that was the fear. So Peppers was pounding water and under the weather. He never failed a drug test in his life, nor tested positive before for any substance.”

Even before today’s news, no one really knew what to make of the Michigan standout. His versatility, to some, is a great asset, but others see him as a tweener without a real position. Some say he’s a linebacker, some view him as an NFL safety, and others believe he can play on offense. His draft stock seemed to be teetering more on second round than first round to begin with, so logic dictates that we probably won’t hear his name called on Thursday night.

Peppers saw some time on offense last season and rushed 27 times for 167 yards, caught two passes, and scored three touchdowns. He also did well as a punt returner, posting a conference-leading 14.8-yard average on runbacks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Draft Visits: 49ers, Panthers, Cowboys, Redskins

Some of Wednesday’s notable pre-draft visits from the NFC:

  • Florida cornerback Teez Tabor and Michigan defensive back/linebacker Jabrill Peppers were among the 49ers’ visitors, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Neither will be in play for the 49ers’ first-round pick (even if they trade down from No. 2), but could still be on the board when the club’s second-rounder comes up at No. 34.
  • Kansas State edge rusher Jordan Willis visited the Panthers, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Willis seems like a more realistic fit for the Panthers in the second round (No. 40 overall) than in the first (No. 8). Regardless, with Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson and Mario Addison each on the wrong side of 30, Carolina could use a young pass rusher like Willis, who totaled 20 sacks from 2015-16.
  • Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey met with the Cowboys, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Humphrey may well be off the board by the time the Cowboys are on the clock at No. 28, though it’s possible he’ll drop amid unwanted comparisons to another ex-Alabama corner, recent first-round bust Dee Milliner.
  • The Redskins, owners of the 17th pick, hosted Houston edge defender Tyus Bowser, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Washington amassed the ninth-most sacks in the league last year, though nine of their 38 came from outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who will serve a four-game suspension to open the season. He’s also due to hit free agency next spring. Adding another pass rusher early in the draft this year could make sense, then. Bowser racked up 22.5 sacks during his four-year college career, including a personal-best 8.5 in 2016.

Draft Rumors: Mixon, Lattimore, Peppers

It was reportedly likely as of two weeks ago that Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon wouldn’t last beyond the third round of the draft, but now there’s “palpable buzz” that his stock is dropping, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Interestingly, one league source informed Florio that Mixon will go undrafted, which runs counter to the notion that many teams Mixon has met with are willing to forgive him for his sordid past. Mixon was caught on camera punching a woman in the face in 2014, and while he has since expressed remorse, his future NFL employer will undoubtedly face a public relations backlash upon adding him.

More on the upcoming draft:

  • Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore visited the Jets on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New York holds the sixth overall pick, with which it could theoretically take Lattimore, but it’s possible concerns over his health will cause him to slide out of the top 10. Should that happen, the Jets may still end up a candidate to draft Lattimore if they succeed in trading down.
  • The Ravens hosted Michigan defender Jabrill Peppers on Tuesday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Peppers expects to serve as a safety in the pros, as do most teams with which he has spoken, but one sees the likely first- or second-rounder as a linebacker and another believes he’s capable of lining up on offense.
  • The Cowboys are in need of pass-rush help, which could come in the form of Missouri defensive end Charles Harris. The club’s attraction to Harris is no secret, reports Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram, though she notes that he might be off the board by the time Dallas is on the clock at No. 28 overall.
  • A couple of NFC West teams are eyeing Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, per Wilson (Twitter link). Melifonwu met with the 49ers on Tuesday and will visit the Seahawks on Wednesday. Speculatively, the 6-foot-4, 224-pounder could be a fit for the 49ers early in Round 2 (No. 34 overall) or the Seahawks late in the first (No. 26).

Extra Points: Ja. Peppers, Rams, Texans

Jabrill Peppers played both linebacker and cornerback at Michigan, but nearly all NFL teams view the draft-bound prospect as a safety, he told the Associated Press. Peppers is on board, saying, “I didn’t play safety, but I’m going to be a safety.” While one club informed Peppers it would use him at linebacker, another had an outside-the-box idea. “One team told me they thought I should play offense,” revealed Peppers, who did see time on that side of the ball at Michigan last season. Peppers rushed 27 times for 167 yards, caught two passes and scored three touchdowns. He also fared well in space as a punt returner, posting a Big Ten-leading 14.8-yard average on runbacks.

More from around the game:

  • Ravens college scouting director Joe Hortiz is the Rams’ top choice to take over the same position in Los Angeles, reports CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (all Twitter links). The Rams have shown interest in Hortiz in the past, notes La Canfora, who adds that Baltimore wouldn’t be able to prevent him from leaving. Los Angeles started reshuffling its scouting department when it dismissed four evaluators on April 9.
  • The Rams are also making changes on the field, with several familiar names apparently set to switch positions as the Sean McVay era begins, according to Myles Simmons of the team’s website. Contrary to a prior report, the signing of left tackle Andrew Whitworth will not force Greg Robinson to shift to guard; rather, Robinson will head to right tackle, leaving Rob Havenstein to move inside. Elsewhere, cornerback Lamarcus Joyner will play free safety and Maurice Alexander will take over at strong safety in the wake of the team’s addition of Nickell Robey-Coleman, who’s primed to handle Joyner’s old job as a slot corner. Finally, Robert Quinn is transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker, though his role as a pass rusher will remain the same.
  • Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles visited the Texans on Monday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. With potential first-rounders in Bolles, Alabama’s Cam Robinson and Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk on their radar, it’s clear the Texans are strongly considering taking a tackle with the 25th pick in the draft.
  • The surgery Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster underwent on his right rotator cuff in February won’t keep him out for any portion of training camp, his agent, Malki Kawa, announced Monday (on Twitter). The soon-to-be first-rounder is “ahead of schedule,” per Kawa.

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Jets, Fins, Mixon,

The 49ers are willing to trade the second pick in the draft, which has been the case since at least February. They’ll “listen to anything,” said general manager John Lynch, who revealed that teams have shown interest in acquiring the selection (via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area). Regardless of whether they trade the choice, the 49ers won’t have top prospects like Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas or Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey in for pre-draft visits. “I think we know those guys pretty well,” stated Lynch (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com). They did work out Cal quarterback Davis Webb on Tuesday, per Wagoner. Webb is gaining momentum as a potential first-rounder.

More on the draft:

  • The Jets worked out North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky on March 30, but they’ll take another look at the 22-year-old Thursday in the form of a pre-draft visit, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. There are some members of the organization who are quite bullish on Trubisky, Mehta writes. The quarterback-needy Jets, who are set to pick sixth, have also met twice with Texas Tech signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
  • With their first-rounder, No. 30, the Steelers plan to select the best defensive back available, says Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (video link). That could be Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, whom GM Kevin Colbert “loves,” according to Kinkhabwala. Head coach Mike Tomlin said last month that the Steelers need DBs capable of playing man coverage, noting that New England quarterback Tom Brady roasted their secondary in January’s AFC championship game.
  • The Dolphins’ previously reported visit with Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton took place Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.The team also hosted Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis, who, like Charlton, is a prospective first-rounder. PFR’s Dallas Robinson currently has Miami taking Charlton at No. 22 overall.
  • Speaking of the Dolphins, they’ll meet with Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt this week, and he’ll also visit the Saints, 49ers and Broncos in the coming days, relays Jeremy Bregman of NFL.com. The brother of Texans superstar J.J. Watt may end up coming off the board in Round 1.
  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is “absolutely in play” for the Vikings in Round 2 (No. 48 overall), Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller told Matt Vensel, Andrew Krammer and Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. Along with Minnesota, the Saints, Bengals and Raiders have shown the most interest in Mixon, per Miller. The Raiders seem like a curious fit, though, given Mixon’s past and owner Mark Davis’ zero tolerance policy regarding domestic violence.

Draft Rumors: Webb, Njoku, Peppers, Allen

Multiple clubs have informed Cal quarterback Davis Webb they view him as a “first-round talent,” tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report indicated earlier this week that Webb could be selected in the first round, and noted as many as five clubs had expressed interest in the 6’5″ signal-caller. That number has now grown to 12, per Branch, and Webb has met with the Cardinals and Steelers, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft:

  • Miami tight end David Njoku visited with the Panthers, as Njoku told the Rich Eisen Show (video link) earlier this week. Njoku, who registered 43 receptions and eight touchdowns last season, is expected to be one of two first-round picks at tight end, joining Alabama’s O.J. Howard. The Buccaneers and Giants are also reportedly eyeing Njoku, who is just 20 years old.
  • The Buccaneers, Saints, and Cardinals have all conducted meetings with Michigan defender Jabrill Peppers, reports Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Debate has emerged regarding what position Peppers will play in the NFL, as though Peppers views himself as a safety, some clubs may see him as a linebacker. Per Peppers, 30 teams wants him to play safety, one wants him to play linebacker, and one outlier views Peppers as an offensive player, tweets Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com.
  • Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen says he’s only met with with the Bears thus far in the draft process, according to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Allen, viewed as one this year’s best defensive prospects, could see his stock fall thanks to a shoulder injury. Some scouts believe Allen could drop into the No. 12-17 range after initially being projected as a top-five pick.