Jabrill Peppers
Al Bello/Getty Images

Entering his second season with the New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers is ready to do whatever it takes to win.

Jason Leach

There have been many changes to the New York Giants coaching staff and the roster since their 2019 season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

With DeAndre Baker being on the Commissioner’s Exempt list for his robbery with a firearm charges, strong safety Jabrill Peppers is the lone starter from the secondary returning this season.

Peppers was a key component in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Cleveland Browns in March of 2019. Although he was part of the Beckham trade, he was the replacement for three-time Pro Bowler Landon Collins who the Giants let walk and sign with Washington in free agency.

Peppers had a solid first season with Big Blue and showed that he was better in coverage than Collins. He had 76 tackles, three forced fumbles, and scored his first career touchdown on a 32-yard pick-six of Washington’s Dwayne Haskins in the Giants’ 24-3 victory in Week 4.

Unfortunately, a traverse process fracture in his back that he sustained in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears would put an end to his season. Despite missing the final five games of the season, he finished fourth on the team in tackles.

Now as he enters his second season with the Giants and fourth season overall, the 24-year-old Peppers will be expected to have an even bigger impact this season.

The Giants are very young and inexperienced in the secondary with the exception of Peppers and cornerback James Bradberry. Rookie Xavier McKinney was probably the best safety in the draft, but he’ll make rookie mistakes and will need to be mentored.

Peppers is the ideal candidate to be a mentor to McKinney and the rest of the young players in the secondary. He knows what it’s like to be a high profile player coming into the league.

In addition to being a leader in the defense, Peppers might be asked to play several positions in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme.

One of those positions, believe it or not, is corner, which is the thinnest position on the roster with Baker’s situation and Sam Beal opting out.

Recently Peppers was asked about being cross-trained to play corner and what it entails.

“I think, first and foremost, I will play wherever the team needs me to play,” Peppers explained to reporters. “We’ve all been cross-training and can do multiple things. Whatever the scheme is, whatever they see fit, that’s what it’s going to be.”

“I think as far as the position, you have to have great footwork. I think that’s the main component that I was trying to better myself on. Just the footwork, being patient, it’s just not for any specific position. I think if I better those things, it will help me translate my game.”

Playing corner is a huge contrast from playing safety, especially for Peppers who often plays in the box. He will still spend the majority of his snaps at safety, but he’s poised to see some action at corner when needed.

Time will tell how the experiment of Peppers, playing corner will go. But the fact that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win is an example of true leadership. It would not come as a surprise if Peppers is named one of the captains for the 2020 season.

Having versatile players will be a constant theme in the Joe Judge era as he looks to bring back credibility to the franchise. With one of his best players in Peppers showing that he’ll play whatever position to better the team is a huge step in the right direction.

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