NFL Draft Rumor Mill



Scouts Compare Jabrill Peppers to Jalen Ramsey

Updated July 19, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Throughout last season and during the lead-up to the 2016 NFL Draft, there was a lot of talk about what a freak athlete Jalen Ramsey was. He contributed to Florida State's national championship team as a freshman before being a superb defender for the Seminoles the past two seasons. As expected, Ramsey wowed teams at the Combine and in workouts as he combined rare size, speed, athleticism and strength for a defensive back. After impressing at both safety and cornerback in college, Ramsey was the fifth-overall pick to the Jaguars.

NFL sources say there could be a similar prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft in Michigan's Jabrill Peppers, except some scouts say that in their early impression of Peppers, he is a better athlete than Ramsey.

Michigan found more ways to use Peppers, as he also helped out on special teams and offense while Ramsey was just a defender for the Seminoles. Peppers mainly played strong safety for Michigan in 2015, totaling 45 tackles with 10 passes broken up. On offense, he was a gadget player with 18 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. He had eight receptions for 79 yards. Peppers also averaged 11.4 yards per punt return.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Peppers told the media recently that he ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3s, and that is a tremendous time for any player, but especially for a defensive back his size. Scouts say that in their early view of Peppers, they feel he is more athletic than Ramsey even though they play different positions. It remains to be seen if Peppers grades out as high, higher, or lower than where Ramsey ended up going.

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Jarrad Davis, Jalen Tabor Viewed Favorably Off the Field

Updated July 14, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Florida junior cornerback Jalen Tabor and senior linebacker Jarrad Davis both impressed NFL evaluators last year. Tabor wasn't draft eligible, so teams didn't write reports on him, but he was so good he was impossible to ignore while teams studied cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and safety Keanu Neal. Tabor enters the 2016 season as the consensus top cornerback prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Davis could have entered the 2016 NFL Draft, and he was tremendous down the stretch. He also is projected to be an early-rounder in the 2017 NFL Draft. In reaching out to NFL sources and others close to the Gators program, they say that both players are viewed favorably off the field.

Sources say that Davis' character is top notch. Teams have no concerns with him off the field entering his senior year. Tabor isn't as clean off the field, as he could have some pot citations, but teams sources say they aren't too alarming right now. They've heard good things about him off the field, and a lot of teams don't put a lot of weight into marijuana issues.

A lot can change during the lead up to the draft and in a player's final collegiate season, but entering the fall, multiple league contacts say they really like Davis and are comfortable with Tabor at this time.



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Kansas Safety Fish Smithson on NFL Radar

Updated July 5, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



When a team goes winless, one wouldn't expect there is an intriguing NFL talent whom pro evaluators are excited to see. However, that is the case with Kansas, as sources have said that safety Fish Smithson is a player who really impressed them. One general manager told WalterFootball.com that in studying pre-draft tape, Smithson really jumped out at them, and they're excited to watch him this fall.

On an 0-12 team, Smithson led the nation with 7.9 solo tackles per game with 87 solo tackles on the season. He totaled 111 stops with two interceptions, five passes broken up, and one forced fumble. He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection; not that that carries any weight with NFL evaluators, but on a winless team, it isn't easy to get post-season honors.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Smithson could help a quality safety class with other early-round prospects like LSU's Jamal Adams, Florida's Marcus Maye, Alabama's Eddie Jackson, Michigan's Jabrill Peppers, and more. Smithson isn't on as good of a team and he won't get the attention of those players, but that doesn't matter to NFL scouts who are excited to Smithson this fall.

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