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Jabrill Peppers: I'm a DB who can play 'comfortably' in box

NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Jabrill Peppers

Defensive back, Michigan

Born: October, 4, 1995

Experience: 2017 NFL Draft prospect

Interview by Brooke Cersosimo | March 30, 2017

I was very close [to returning to Michigan], but ultimately, the pros outweighed the cons this year. It definitely was one of the toughest decisions I've made throughout my life, though, so far.

Me, my mom, my family and my Pop Warner coach. Those are the people whose opinions I respect the most, so they definitely had a part to play in [the decision to enter the draft], as well.

I think anywhere in the defensive backfield. I believe I'm a defensive back who can play comfortably in the box. I can play corner, nickel corner, safety -- strong or free. In some situations, I can come down and be the dime linebacker, just from my experience of being in the box this year, learning how to read offensive fronts and actually learning what the big guys up front on the defensive side are doing -- being in the 5-technique, 6-technique, 3, shade, you know, things like that. So now that I've added that to my arsenal, I definitely think [I can play] anywhere in the defensive backfield. I can also play in the box, as well.

When I was watching the Patriots in the Super Bowl, or whenever I caught their games, I would say I'm doing similar stuff to Patrick Chung. So guys like Patrick Chung and Earl Thomas. I think [Thomas and I] share some of the size and the way he plays. He plays aggressive, fiery and doesn't care who you are. He's going to come down and try to give you everything he has. If I had to say, it'd be a combination of those two guys. But at the end of the day, I take what I can from veterans and guys who have done it before me and try to find my own way.

If a team needs me [to play offense], I'll do whatever. All I want to do is just be the best ballplayer I can be. I'm a winner, so whatever I have to do to win, that's what I'm going to do. I don't know how to break it down any clearer than that. All I need is an opportunity.

[Jim Harbaugh] is exactly like what you see. He doesn't put on any front for television or anything like that. I think people overreact to some of the things he does because it's their first time seeing it. We see him every day, so it's normal to us. If you see Coach Harbaugh hosting a satellite camp with his shirt off and khakis and cleats, you're going to look at him a little funny because you haven't seen him doing anything like that before.

He's a fiery coach, very intense and wants to get the very best out of you. He's also a very down-to-earth guy, but he coaches hard. I think that's something all those who play for him can appreciate.

I don't think too many universities run their operation the way [Harbaugh] runs his. It's definitely business-like. He came from the NFL and that's how he runs it. Everything's a competition. Everything's about producing. Everything's about conducting yourself like you're a pro. He definitely prepares us for what's to come and what's to expect at the next level.

I am a fan of the khakis. Besides his football pads when he played, other than that [I haven't seen him wear anything other than khakis]. He tucks everything in to the khakis, too, which makes it pop more. It doesn't matter if he has a coat on or a sweater or shirt, it's getting tucked in to the khakis. He definitely doesn't stray too far away from his swag.

I looked up to guys like Reggie Rush, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, Devin Hester with the return game.

I watch guys like [Eric] Weddle. Who else? The rookie linebacker from the Falcons ... uh, Deion Jones. There are certain guys I just look to to find things I can incorporate [into my game].

Honestly, I don't pay that any mind. I feel like you can't get too caught up in the negatives or the positives. You gotta stay level-headed and I just feel as though you should never feel like you've arrived no matter how good you are or it's never as bad as you think no matter how low you are. In this league, it's a little different because, if you're not producing, they can send you home. That definitely adds or ups the ante, but at the end of the day, I know what kind of ballplayer I am.

I've been doing this all my life. I work hard. I'm coachable. The stuff they think I can't do can be coached up, but the stuff I can do can't be. So in my eyes, no matter where I go I'm just going to make my mark. Just prove a lot of people wrong.

This month is going to be a very busy month for me visit-wise.

I'm most looking forward to the opportunity to make my name all over again. At this level, the competition goes up. It's just another endeavour I'm looking forward to.

I was well prepared for all of the things they might have asked me [at the NFL Scouting Combine]. I had mock interviews with myself, where I ask like, What can you think of that they can ask you? Then I'll ask myself that question. I was very well prepared, I'm not going to lie. I was very comfortable in there. I was just nervous because there were a lot of head coaches and head coaches that I saw on TV a lot. That was the more nervous part than what they were going to ask me.

I feel like the consensus will say Coach [Bill] Belichick. You can just feel when he's around. I asked him to take a picture and he said that he didn't do the "snap face thing." So, it's safe to say I was nervous even asking, but when he said that, we kind of just laughed about it.

I do a little rapping. I grew up listening to Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Redman and Method Man, Nas, you know, Snoop.

[My favorite team growing up] was the Cowboys. But I mean, it doesn't matter where I go. I'll be ecstatic. I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't feel a little something [if I was drafted by the Cowboys]. But I stopped having a favorite team in high school, and I've always enjoyed watching the game.

My family are either Cowboys or Giants fans, which is really weird.

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