S Jabrill Peppers -- April 18, 2019
Q: How have you gotten acclimated to your new surroundings?
A: Itís gotten pretty well, you know, Iím from New Jersey, so it wasnít much of a culture shock.
Q: So youíre happy to be home?
A: Iím ecstatic, man. MetLife has brought me great memories, so Iím excited to make more.
Q: How excited are you about your role in this defense?
A: Iím excited. Coach (James) Bettcher, he puts guys in the right positions to make plays. Iím excited to join the likes of guys like (LB Alec) Ogletree, (CB Janoris Jenkins) ĎJackrabbit,í learn from a veteran guy like (S Antoine) Bethea, you know, just take my game to the next level.Ē
Q: You had a really unique experience in Cleveland. Adversity, and then that second year, you really broke out. What did you learn?
A: When youíre going through a lot of adversity, you definitely learn some things. I was on the back end of a lot of plays, and it taught me what not to do. Trust myself a lot more, be myself out there. My second year, they put me a little closer to the line Ė I also still played free (safety) a little bit Ė but I was definitely more aggressive, more in tune to the game and I think thatís what showed on tape.
Q: How good do you believe you can be heading into year three?
A: No oneís expectations are higher than mines. I hold myself to a high level. I put in the work and the preparation to play at a high level. Iím just excited to go out there and do what I do best.
Q: Have you ever doubted yourself through the ups and downs the last couple of years?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: Why? What about you says otherwise?
A: Just no matter how things are going you got to stay 10 toes down, stay level-headed, and just keep pushing through. Whether things are going well, or things are not going well. You got to be the same guy.
Q: Do you look at it as a new start in some ways?
A: In some ways. Again, Iíve been well acclimated to the league. This is year three. I like to think of myself as a mature guy now. Iíve played a lot of football. Saw a lot, learned a lot, and Iím willing to put forth everything and bring it all together.
Q: When you look at the trade and the deal you were involved in, do you feel as if you were a worthy part of this deal and view yourself as that first-round pick the Giants gave up in Odell (Beckham Jr.)?
A: I think theyíre going to get a guy whoís going to come in here and work extremely hard, put his best foot forward, a guy whoís best football is ahead of him, and Iím going to let my film do the talking for me. So, thatís the kind of guy they got.
Q: Dave Gettleman remembers meeting with you in a pre-draft meeting back in Carolina. What do you remember about Dave and that meeting versus when he called you for the first time this offseason?
A: Basically the same guy Ė upbeat, happy, a guy that loves football, loves talking football. Now it is crazy how the world turns. Now Iím playing for him. We had a very exciting meeting in Carolina, and now Iím here. Thatís just how it goes sometimes.
Q: Did you think back then that maybe this guy like me, and maybe I can end up here?
A: Not really. I just try to go in and show Iím a bright guy, both on and off the field. Let my personality show a little bit to see what kind of guy theyíre going to get. You never know whoís going to get you when itís draft time. I didn't really put too much thought into it. Plus, I had a lot of meetings.
Q: You said with Cleveland, you played closer to the line. Can you alternate switching positions with Antoine (Bethea) and play the backend too?
Q: Is that difficult, or is that just part of the job?
A: Itís just part of the job. Thereís nothing difficult about it.
Q: Was (DE Rashan) Gary already at Paramus Catholic when you had gotten there? Or did he arrive once you graduated?
A: He came in when I graduated. I tried to get him the year before, but it didnít go as planned (laughter).
Q:Obviously the Michigan ties, but how close are you guys, and have you given him any advice about the pre-draft process?
A: I just told him it was going to be a process. Just keep a smile on your face, stay upbeat, and itíll all be worth it. Youíre going to want to have a day where you donít feel like doing anything. You go see a team thatís really interested in you and maybe you didnít get enough sleep because you were across the country meeting with another team, now you have to meet with this team today. I just told him to keep a smile on his face with everything, work hard, and the cards will fall where theyíre meant.
Q: Did you get a chance to see him when he came here for his top-20 visit?
A: No, I didnít.
Q: Would that be wild if somehow he ended up here?
A: That would be, definitely.
Q: When you were growing up, the positions were known as free safety and strong safety. Nowadays, the position has evolved to a more combo safety, a guy who can play both positions. Do you see consider yourself a combo safety?
A: Definitely, as it becomes more of a passing league Ė the guys in the backend have to be able to do both. There are still guys that can run the ball and try to run it to open the pass up. So, youíve got to be able to do both.