Jabrill Peppers likely a kick return option for Giants

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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During his days at Michigan, Jabrill Peppers did it all on his way to becoming a rare Heisman Trophy top-five vote-getter on defense.

Peppers played linebacker and safety, but also dabbled on offense and returned kicks.

In his two NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Peppers was a starting safety and a primary returner on punts and kickoffs.

Heading into his first season with the New York Giants, Peppers could be called upon to continue his return duties.

"The guy is a for-sure ball-handler," Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said via nj.com. "Can make all the cuts full speed. He just brings juice."

In his two seasons with the Browns, Peppers averaged 22 yards per kick return on 33 tries and averaged 7.3 yards over 55 punt returns.

Last season, the Giants had six players return punts and eight return kicks, including Odell Beckham, for whom Peppers was traded in an offseason blockbuster.

While the return game seemed to constantly be in flux, McGaughey believes he has more good options to put back there this time around.

"Last year, we didn't have a lot of options," the coach said. "Now, we've got a bunch of options, and we look forward to be able to execute at a high level."

In addition to Peppers, Corey Coleman, Golden Tate and rookie Darius Slayton are likely to be used in the return game. The flow of the game and how Peppers is used on defense will also play a part in his ability to field kicks.

"You never know how it shakes out," McGaughey said. "It can be a situation where Jabrill might have just went on a [deep] route and he's tired. I'll be like, 'Hey, come off the field,' and throw Corey out there. Who knows? Darius Slayton. Or it's a plus area [of field position], throw Golden Tate there and make sure we catch the ball."

In other words, the personnel options look to have improved for the Giants' return game, but New York is still likely to call upon myriad returners.

With his past and potential, however, Peppers appears poised for a chance at impacting Giants games on special teams.

"When you think about it over the years and you watch punt returners that have had success that have played on defense -- the Deion Sanders and all those guys -- that's a playmaking position," McGaughey said. "I have no reservation putting any kind of starter back there because that's a play that can change the game."

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