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Jabrill Peppers working out with LBs Sunday, DBs Monday at combine

Jabrill Peppers
Ethan Sears
Written by Ethan Sears

In 2015, Arizona Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon converted from safety to a linebacker/safety hybrid position and it resulted in him becoming one of the most useful defensive players in the league. Copycats were soon to follow — Mark Barron of the Los Angeles Rams played the “moneybacker” position this season — and now Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers seems to be headed down that path.

Peppers will work out with linebackers on Sunday and defensive backs on Monday at the NFL Combine, reports Adam Schefter.

If Peppers turns out to be next in the growing line of shapeshifting, versatile defensive backs, it will be great for the league. We’re early on in the development of this position — so much so that there isn’t even an official name for it — but it’s proven fruitful for teams to make use of it already.

The hard-hitting, run-stopping strong safety that was being phased out now has a home, as does the tweener who could never fit at a traditional position. It’s a description Peppers fits. Five years ago, teams would have been scared to go near Peppers. Now, he’s a potential first rounder and could even go in the top-15 if the right team falls in love with his game.

In a league that has struggled to embrace analytics and modern ways of thinking about sports, it’s nice to see a bit of progress once in a while.

About the author

Ethan Sears

Ethan Sears

Ethan Sears is the publisher of sports web site EthanSears.com and will graduate in 2017 from Rye High School in Westchester County, New York. He has loved sports from an early age and intends to have a long career in journalism.

Ethan interned at the New York Post in the summers of 2015 and 2016. He also writes for Giants Wire, USA Today's New York Giants blog. In addition to writing and editing his own website, Ethan is the sports editor for his school paper, Garnet and Black. You can follow him on Twitter @ethan_sears.