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Jim Harbaugh, others praise Giants safety Jabrill Peppers: ‘The ultimate chess piece’

To properly compare the versatility Jabrill Peppers offers on the gridiron, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh once invoked the legendary Jim Thorpe

The high praise for the former Wolverine and current Giants safety, who was acquired this offseason as part of the return from Cleveland in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, doesn’t stop there. 

“There’s nothing he can’t do,” Harbaugh has said in the past, per


Chris Partridge coached Peppers at Paramus Catholic in New Jersey before the two both moved to Ann Arbor, with Peppers transforming into an impact player in all three phases of the game — mostly defense and special teams, plus some carries on offense — and Partridge serving as the special teams coach. 

Partridge found that Peppers could handle a multitude of responsibilities easily. 

“The more jobs you give him, the greater the impact,” Partridge said. “Jabrill can be the ultimate chess piece if used the right way.”

And Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher has plenty of ways he can use the 23-year-old. In fact, Bettcher has thought highly of Peppers since their pre-draft meeting in 2017. 

“The people that were around him loved him. I got multiple texts from coaches that worked with him in Cleveland – it was not something I asked for, this was after we traded for him – and they said that we were going to love him,” Bettcher said. “He is going to work exceptionally hard and is going to be about what it is supposed to be about.”

Coaches are not the only ones who see the impression Peppers carries on the field. His new Giants teammates have taken notice of his competitive nature, even if they haven’t known him all that long.

“We’ve only been on the field a little bit together, but if he takes a wrong step, he’s pissed,” fellow defensive back Michael Thomas told “When you’re that competitive and you’re a perfectionist, that’s a good combination as a young player.” 

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