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NFL Draft

2017 Cowboys Draft: Should Dallas Target Jabrill Peppers?

Brian Martin

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2017 Cowboys Draft: Will Jabrill Peppers Be The Best Player Available?

If I would have been asked at any point over the last two collegiate seasons if I would like to see Jabrill Peppers end up with the Dallas Cowboys, my answer would've absolutely been yes. But, as things stand right now I'm a little bit on the fence. Because of that, I have been wondering whether or not the Cowboys draft Peppers in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft when they are on the clock at 28th overall.

Jabrill Peppers is without a doubt one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire 2017 draft class, but it doesn't really seem as if anybody really knows what position he should play in the NFL.

Is he a safety? Is he a linebacker? Is he a better offensive player?

If the Dallas Cowboys draft Peppers, they will have to be able to answer all those questions in order to get him on the field as soon as possible. That's just what you would expect from a first-round draft pick.

In all honesty, I'm actually starting to come around to the idea that the former Michigan star might just be the best player available when the Cowboys are on the clock. The more I study and learn about Peppers, the more I think the Cowboys draft him if he is still available. Continue reading if you want to know why.

Cowboys' Coaching Staff Familiarity

S Coach Greg Jackson and S Jabrill PeppersThe Dallas Cowboys may feel more comfortable drafting Jabrill Peppers than the majority of other teams around the NFL. That is because they may just have a little inside information because of their safeties coach, Greg Jackson.

Before becoming the Cowboys' safety coach in 2016, Greg Jackson spent the 2015 season filling the same role at Michigan. That by the way was the last year Peppers played safety for the Wolverines before moving to linebacker in 2016.

Jackson may have a really good understanding of what Peppers is as a safety and where he needs to improve the most. That kind of knowledge is invaluable, especially when the team you work for is considering drafting that particular player with their first-round selection.

Not only can Jackson give advice about Peppers' skill set, but he also has firsthand knowledge of his work ethic and the kind of person he is on and off the field. Again, this kind of information is invaluable.

Jabrill Peppers' Intriguing Versatility

S Jabrill PeppersOne of the reasons Jabrill Peppers is arguably the most intriguing prospect in the entire 2017 draft class is because of his versatility to play several different positions.

He was recruited to Michigan as a cornerback, but also played safety and linebacker on defense for the Wolverines. Peppers also played on the opposite side of the ball as a running back and wide receiver. But, that's not all. He is also dangerous in the return game as a punt and kick returner.

There are those that believe Peppers would be a better offensive player as either a running back or wide receiver in the NFL. They can certainly make a strong case for that, because he is dangerous anytime he has the ball in his hands. But, I think he is going to make a really good safety once he can buckle down and focus on one position.

The Cowboys are thin at the safety position with Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox leaving via free agency. Peppers could step in and start next to Byron Jones, but with Jeff Heath on the roster the Cowboys can afford to take their time before throwing him into the fire.

We all know the Cowboys like versatility in their players, and Peppers has that in spades. As a rookie he could end up being the starting safety next to Byron Jones. The Cowboys could also decide to use him as their primary return man or in certain packages on offense. He could even be used as a nickel linebacker.

There are so many ways that Jabrill Peppers can be utilized it almost seems as if it is a no-brainer for the Dallas Cowboys to draft him if he is still available. Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait until April 27 to find out.

Do you think Jabrill Peppers would be a good first-round draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys?


Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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10 Comments
  • EverybodyTalks

    Peppers would be a great choice at 28. We drop Lucky and put Peppers on returns. With that pick we have added help at LB, CB on special packages while filling a need at S or even SS. If Heath is getting his shot, then Peppers could be on Special teams. We will see if he is there at 28.

    • Brian Martin

      There are players I would like more in the first round, but I wouldn’t be upset if Peppers is who the Cowboys decide to go with.

  • Russ_Te

    If we are going high for an S, we’re talking SS to pair up with Jones at FS / after losing Church. I condone the pick if it is an impact SS and there was not a comparable impact CB on the board. Otherwise I’m going the project route, and as I mentioned I might want to look at Jaylon Smith at SS in camp, because of the physicality upgrade from Church.

    Peppers is 5′ 11″ / 213 lbs / 4.46 40 dash. But he was a track star, so he can run. If I think he is a hitter and intimidator then I’m trying to add about 10 lbs to play SS in the NFL. If he is my starter and can also break open kick or punt returns, then I’m not looking for him to always return the ball – too much injury risk. A player like that – think Darrell Green – is great in spot return duty, like in a close game in the second half.

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2017/profiles/jabrill-peppers?id=2557980

    • Brian Martin

      I really find Peppers intriguing, but at the same time there a lot of players I like better that should be there for the Cowboys at 28. I’m really on the fence about Peppers. I like him because of what he could turn into, but don’t like him because he may never develop into a starter.

      Also, I don’t like the idea of playing Jaylon Smith at strong safety at all, especially since he not 100%. Leave him at LB and let him do his thing. I think he can be in All-Pro LB if he plays like he did at Notre Dame.

      • Russ_Te

        I like his write-up enough to think he has more talent at SS than whoever else will be competing there. But I think a CB of equal talent is more important in Round 1 – or if they get lucky with a DE falling, of course.

        Just think the look at Smith in camp at SS would be interesting, because of the size and speed upgrade from Church. The knee is an issue no matter where he plays, and he might suck at SS or be a natural. I really liked having the big SS with speed that was there with Roy Williams. He just fell apart when he had to turn and run with receivers. But that enforcer around the box is nice to have. Sorry to lose Wilcox, for that reason.

        • Brian Martin

          Russ, I actually think the complete opposite from you when it comes to the safety position. I would prefer two interchangeable safeties that can make plays on the ball. I think that’s kind of why the Cowboys moved on from Church and Wilcox to begin with. I think they want somebody that isn’t as much of a liability in coverage.

          Honestly, I would like to see Budda Baker paired with Byron Jones. That would allow Marinelli to get really creative with his coverages and Jones is also capable of playing that box safety position if needed.

          • jayray78

            Peppers makes a lot of sense and the Jackson connection is the same kind of insight that probably brought Jaylon to the Cowboys. They love to that that kind of familiarity with a player and really get into the intangibles. I think a lot of people are really over thinking Peppers. Just look what we did with Byron Jones. His last two years were at cornerback. We all knew he had the athleticism to play safety too. I see Peppers the same way. Imagine sub packages with Peppers covering running backs and tight ends. Best player available crossing roads with one of the best athletes in the draft, I wouldn’t be upset with this pick at all. In fact, I hope they pull the trigger on it. His position flex and athleticism tells me that he is RKG.

          • Brian Martin

            I completely agree, but there are players that I would draft ahead of Peppers. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to get a good read on what teams think about him, especially the Cowboys

  • Deno Cobb

    I seriously hope they don’t draft him. He is OVER-RATED. He is a novelty and not a full time starter/producer. He would be interesting as a 3rd or 4th round pick but nowhere near the 1st.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree with you. The fact that the Cowboys haven’t worked him out or brought him in for a visit likely means are not very high on him.

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.

But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.

Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.

Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.

On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What about the rest of the class?

Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.

After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.

How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


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NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.

Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.

But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.

Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.

Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.

One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.

In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.

Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 1

Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.

The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.

Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.

Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.

For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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NFL Draft

Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch
Loren Orr / Getty Images

A week ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked out to the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Dallas Cowboys first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. For the second consecutive year, a large portion of Cowboys Nation was not pretty happy about the player America's Team had drafted in the first day of the Draft.

Boise State's Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has become one of the main debates among Cowboys fans right now and will continue to be one at least until the season starts. Some are fine with the decision the front office made and some simply don't view Vander Esch as a first round talent.

Naturally, taking Leighton in the first round has been widely compared to the team's last first round pick: Taco Charlton.

Both of these selections resulted in fans all around the world complaining and criticizing the selections since they both seemed like a reach, arguing that they could've gotten better players at other positions.

But fans shouldn't be so quick to compare the Charlton and Vander Esch selections, because they really aren't that similar. Sure, most of the media and Draft fans didn't consider any of these players worthy of a first round pick, but that doesn't mean both players were ranked similarly in the Cowboys' draft board.

Defensive End Taco Charlton, despite showing some very promising flashes towards the end of the year, wasn't able to become a starter at any point during his rookie season. Hopefully he develops into one next season. But when you're talking about first-round picks, being a solid starter at the end of the season at the latest is a very usual expectation.

Possibly what made the Taco pick hurt even more, is the fact that the front office didn't even consider him a first-round talent. Although he was drafted to wear the Star with the 28th overall pick, he wasn't their guy.

Drew Davison on Twitter

The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.

With Leighton Vander Esch, the same can't be said. The Cowboys knew he was their guy and that they were going to take him, regardless of the situation. For many weeks we wondered about just every scenario the team might face when they were on the clock.

What if DE Harold Landry is available? What if Calvin Ridley is still on the board? What if Derwin James slides, would they trade up?

For the front office, there was quite a lot of talent to choose from at 19 (not to mention James did slide out of the top 15), but they still took Leighton Vander Esch, even with Landry and Ridley on the board. We might disagree with the pick. We might not think the Boise State's product should've been taken so early. That's completely fine.

But Cowboys Nation should be happy knowing that this was the guy they wanted all along. Maybe if Derwin James hadn't been drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th pick, Dallas would have still taken Vander Esch.

 "If the Cowboys traded up a few spots in the first round, I believe it would have been to ensure they got Vander Esch, not get James or Edmunds." Dane Brugler on the Cowboys' approach to the Draft. 

For now, it's time to root for the Dallas Cowboys' new rookie. Vander Esch will provide a special factor to this defense and has the potential to become a very good starter down the road. Playing side by side with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith will certainly help his development and turn him into an impact player soon.

At the end of the day, it takes years to properly evaluate how a draft pick turned out in the NFL. There are first round players who turn out to be complete busts just like there are sixth or seventh round players that go on to become superstars in the league.

The Dallas Cowboys did a hell of a job addressing their needs throughout the Draft this year and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this year's draft picks. Leighton Vander Esch is without a doubt, one of them.

Tell me what you think about "Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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