Peppers No. 8 on McShay's Top 32 NFL draft prospects
Michigan defensive players — headlined by Jabrill Peppers at No. 8 — are well represented in ESPN draft expert Todd McShay's Top 32 players available for this year's NFL draft. Read the complete list here.
The Wolverines' all-around star and Heisman Trophy finalist is followed by senior defensive end Taco Charlton at No. 13 and senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis at No. 27.
McShay ranks junior Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell at No. 14.
Peppers, a redshirt sophomore, hasn't officially declared for the draft but is expected to do so by the Jan. 16 deadline.
McShay says of Peppers: "Peppers is a polarizing player because it's a little tricky to find him a true position, but I see him as a great fit for the modern NFL. He has the speed and athleticism to thrive in space and the toughness to play bigger than his 205-pound frame. Think of Peppers as a hybrid player at the next level — a Deone Bucannon-type — who can help your team in a lot of ways (he finished the regular season with 15.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, seven QB hurries, three rushing TDs and one punt-return TD). The biggest concern for me is his lack of ball production at Michigan (he has only one career interception)."
Charlton finished the season with 10 sacks in his last 10 games.
McShay says of Charlton: "He has always had the raw ability, but this season, he showed more consistency and refined technique. Charlton has the ability to be an edge defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme in the NFL."
Despite a lack of size (5-foot-11, 186 pounds), McShay says Lewis was the best man-to-man corner he saw this season.
"He had one of the best interceptions you'll ever see," says McShay, referring to Lewis' pick against Wisconsin, "and in the last six games of the season, he accumulated eight pass breakups and another pick. Lewis has shown the ability to lock down half the field with regularity."
MSU's McDowell battled injuries and his production tailed off.
"He just isn't the consistent grinder who typically comes out of Michigan State," McShay said. "But McDowell has elite athleticism and can play multiple positions along the D-line at the next level."