INDIANAPOLIS -- His shirt at the NFL's scouting combine says "LB,'' as in linebacker, but the versatile Jabrill Peppers is confident about where he should play as a professional.
"What do I look like? I'm a safety. I'm a safety. Yes, I'm a safety," Michigan's do-it-all standout said. "... I control the controllables. 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.''
No one in the league questions the multidimensional Peppers as a first-round prospect, but opinions do vary on where to put him. Weak-side linebacker, strong safety, free safety, slot receiver and maybe even some running back are all on the list of options tossed out by personnel evaluators in recent days.
And, oh, he can be a full-time returner as well.
Peppers certainly did his part to add to the conversation Sunday when the linebackers went through their on-field workout at Lucas Oil Stadium. At 5-foot-10 7/8, 213 pounds, he blistered through his 40-yard dash attempts in 4.46 and 4.47 seconds to go with 35 ½-inch vertical leap and a 10-8 broad jump.
All of those were at, or near, the top performances in the position group. Peppers was put in the linebackers group Sunday because that was his listed position when the combine official sent out invitations, but he said Saturday he plans to take part in the defensive backs drills on Monday -- the final day of workouts at the combine.
Peppers won the Paul Hornung Award this past season as the nation's most versatile player. He scored touchdowns rushing and on a punt return this season as well as scoring on a 2-point play on a fumble return.
"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."Jabrill Peppers
He lined up at receiver and running back as well as all over the defense and joked Saturday if he was a full-time player on offense heading into this draft he would "be an elite prospect.''
"Free or strong. I'm very fast, I'm stronger than the typical DB, tougher than the typical DB, since I played linebacker in the Big Ten at 200 pounds,'' Peppers said. "So that's anywhere from nickel, I can play some corner still. So we'll see. It's gonna be a fun process."
Peppers did have to convince the powers-that-be at the combine to allow him to do position drills with the defensive backs Monday after doing the full slate of on-field work with the linebackers Sunday afternoon.
Peppers said he had done most of his pre-combine work as if he would test with the defensive backs.
"I was informed that since I was listed as a linebacker in college, that I had to only work out with the linebackers, so they were just gonna make me do linebacker stuff,'' Peppers said. "So I asked if there was somehow some way I could do the DB work, because that's what I was doing all offseason and leading up to the combine. And I told my agents that and they made it happen, and they said the only way I can do it is if I do both. I was like, that's easy. That's no problem at all.''