I didn’t watch the TV broadcast of the first day of the draft. Partly it’s because it always is a time of heartbreak for Browns fans, but partly on principle. I’m supposed to get excited about the mere occurrence of the NFL’s mechanism for deciding which team gets to begin negotiations with which athlete? Sorry, I’d rather do just about anything else.
So this morning, I checked to see what the Browns had done. Hmmm . . . three first-round choices? A guy who hopefully will provide some much-needed past-rushing skills to the defense? OK, I get that. A tight end? OK, a bit more iffy, but if the kid is a playmaker, I suppose I get that, too.
But Jabrill Peppers? Really?
I’m not saying this because Peppers attended That School Up North. I’m saying it because I’ve followed the Big Ten, and I’ve watched Peppers play. I think he is a reasonably good punt returner, but other than that I think he’s one of the most overrated players in college sports in the last five years. Sure, he played a lot of positions — but how many big plays did he make in big games? When the chips were down and Michigan was trying to beat Ohio State, what kind of contribution did Peppers make? I think really good players tend to rise to the top in big games. Peppers didn’t.
I hope I’m wrong, and Peppers is a combination of Eric Metcalf and Thom Darden, bringing punt-returning excitement and interception big-play potential to the Browns. But right now, color me skeptical. Peppers seems like an undersized guy who lacks serious “football speed” and made his rep scoring touchdowns and playing multiple positions against teams that weren’t very good. In the NFL, on the other hand, he’ll be playing for a team that isn’t very good.
I’m sensing another wasted first-round pick, folks.