The Browns made safety Jabrill Peppers a first-round pick last year in a bid to add a playmaker to the back end of their defense, but his impact was muted during his rookie season.
Peppers had 57 tackles and an interception in 13 games and part of the reason he didn’t produce as hoped was because the Browns put him all the way at the back end of the defense. Lining up so far behind the line of scrimmage became fodder for jokes, which Peppers heard but he doesn’t put all the blame on defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ alignment.
Peppers said there “wouldn’t be jokes if I was making the plays I was supposed to make” and believes that he’ll start doing so this year thanks to the experience he gained in 2017.
“It allows you to play faster,” Peppers said, via Ohio.com. “You know what other guys are supposed to do as well. It allows you to help other guys play to your level, disguise certain things and make it look like a different scheme, things like that. It definitely helps having a year under my belt going through the offseason process with the guys, the whole offseason process, just relearning certain things, learning new techniques and how to play different schemes. It’s definitely going to be a tremendous help. I’m just looking forward to go out there, learn from my mistakes, playing that much faster, being in better shape now that I’ve got a year of conditioning with the guys under my belt, just going out there doing what I love to do and what I know how to do best.”
A year of experience isn’t all that will be different for Peppers. The Browns traded for Damarious Randall and his presence is expected to put Peppers closer to the line this time around. If the combination leads to more production for Peppers, it should brighten the outlook on defense in Cleveland.