With just one day remaining in the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, several young athletes looking to make the jump from college football to the NFL stood out over the weekend, including Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), T.J. Watt (Wisconsin), and Myles Garrett (Texas A&M). With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, many assume that the Cleveland Browns will take Garrett in the first round, while both Peppers and Watt turned a lot of heads with their performances as well.
Jabrill Peppers — University of Michigan, Defensive Back/Linebacker
As detailed by ESPN, Jabrill Peppers reported to the 2017 NFL Combine labeled as a linebacker. If you ask him about it, however, he might be a better fit in the NFL as a safety.
“What do I look like? I’m a safety… I control the controllables [sic]. I’m pretty much effective wherever I’m gonna be put. I don’t have a lot of tape at safety, but I’m a pretty damn good safety. I think a lot of teams notice that. They have the tape. They asked me for tapes of me playing corner, me playing some safety, but ultimately I hope a lot of questions are answered after this weekend.”
Peppers, who received the fifth most votes for the 2016 Heisman Trophy, really impressed those in attendance on Sunday with his on-field workout. His 40-yard dash times were 4.46 and 4.47 seconds. He recorded a 35.5 inch vertical and a broad jump of 10 feet, eight inches. Although Peppers worked out with the linebackers on Sunday, he plans on working out with the defensive backs on Monday as well.
Myles Garrett — Texas A&M, Defensive Lineman/Defensive End
After an impressive workout on Sunday, many believe that Myles Garrett is a sure thing when the Cleveland Browns make the first selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. As noted by Yahoo Sports, the Browns adding defensive end Garrett to their squad could be have as big an impact on the franchise as Jevon Kearse joining the Tennessee Titans in 1999. He would be joining defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah in Cleveland, who the Browns selected in the second round in 2016.
Garrett ran a 4.64 second 40-yard dash on Sunday, and became the first defensive lineman weighing at least 270 pounds to record a vertical leap of higher than 40 inches (Garrett hit 41 inches) since 2006. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 33 times and was said to have had a very strong interview as well.
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T.J. Watt — University of Wisconsin, Linebacker
Following in the footsteps of brothers J.J. Watt (defensive end, Houston Texans) and Derek Watt (fullback, San Diego Chargers), T.J. Watt hopes to successfully transition to the NFL as a linebacker. While the NFL reports that he didn’t have workout numbers that were quite as impressive as Myles Garrett or Jabrill Peppers at the combine, his pedigree and past performance in college gave scouts plenty of reason to pay attention to the 6-foot-5, 243-pound outside linebacker.
Watt was an All-Big Ten Conference player while at the University of Wisconsin last season, registering 63 tackles (15.5 for loss), 11.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a pick-six. Specific teams that seemed to show interest in Watt at the combine include the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Dallas Cowboys.
This year’s NFL Scouting Combine began on Tuesday, February 28, in Indianapolis, and will wrap-up on Monday, March 6. The 2017 NFL Draft will take place over three days, April 27-29, at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The 2017 NFL Season begins on September 7.
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]