5. Jabrill Peppers: Michigan
Versatility is key.
In a day when the NFL wants its safeties to cover big tight ends and blitz the quarterback, Jabrill Peppers is the target for a lot of teams. He should, however, be one of the Patriots top targets in the draft.
With Patrick Chung getting older, and his play falling quite a bit in the past year, the Patriots could use a strong safety of Peppers skill set. He often played as a linebacker-safety hybrid in college at Michigan.
Peppers has 3 career sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, and 86 solo tackles, according to Sports-Reference.com, . Mostly playing safety and linebacker, Peppers created a versatile Michigan defense who was considered one of the best in history.
When I see Peppers, I compare him to Deone Bucannon because of his unique ability to change positions on defense. Like Bucannon, Peppers is a Swiss army knife of a player who can cover a teams tight end, but has speed to cover running backs out of the backfield.
The Patriots often get beat by an opposing tight ends, as shown by Patrick Chung being exposed in Super Bowl 51 by Austin Hooper for a touchdown. Also, ex-Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins was exposed by ex-Denver tight end Owen Daniels in the 2015 AFC Championship game.
The fit makes sense for both sides, but the same could be said for the other 31 teams.