From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
Marlon Humphrey/CB Alabama – 6’0/2 197
– NFL frame and good length (32 1/4 arms)
– Top athlete, excellent straight line speed that matches who he tests
– Quick feet and a fluid turn, changes directions well for taller, lankier frame
– Does well in press man, punches with correct hand and mirrors release well, shows patience on the goal line, doesn’t false step and reads WR release
– Plays pocket well and knows how to play clean downfield, uses length well to contest on throws across the middle and vertically
– Desire to be physical, like his attitude/demeanor, drives downhill aggressively against the run and willing tackler
– Works off stalk blocks well, uses hands well, and ability to disengage
– Good football IQ and able to read routes/QBs, did well in zone coverage when asked
– Experience in press, man, and extensive pattern matching background
– Strong football/athletic bloodlines
– Slighter frame and could add some muscle
– Catches in press coverage too often, hands too far outside, and lack of upper body strength can get him beat up when trying to jam
– Smaller size can make it tough for him to finish his tackles, must use leverage better and aim lower
– Aggressive nature can get him into trouble, vulnerable to double-moves and trying to do too much outside of his scheme/job
– Played left corner only
– Average production
– 19 career starts, cracked starting lineup as redshirt freshmen
– Left school as redshirt sophomore, will turn 21 in July
– Career: 81 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 5 INTs, 3 FFs (two seasons)
– 2016: 36 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 INTs
– Five star recruit out of high school, #5 corner in the nation by ESPN (15th overall)
– First place in 100 and 400 meter hurdles at 2013 World Youth Track and Field Trials
– Father was Bobby Humphrey, played RB for Alabama and was first round pick of Broncos in 1989 draft
– Mother ran track for UAB, still holds school record in 400 meters
Let me get this off my chest. I really like Marlon Humphrey. He has his flaws, we’ll explain how those can be corrected and why they exist, but I feel like he’s the one first rounder not enough people are talking about. And frankly, we haven’t either on this site. So let’s jump in.
Humphrey has the size, speed, and mentality you look for in a corner. Over six foot, ran a 4.41 at the Combine, and he’s a physical, willing tackler. He spent most of his time playing press man in college and did it well. Really like his feet, agility, and ability to punch and then open his hips in man coverage. Shows it all here. Jam the receiver at the bottom, open up his hips as the receiver releases, stays in-phase, and breaks the ball up.
For being such a young guy, he’s got a good IQ. It’s not just him being aggressive either. This was my favorite play of his and something he’d be asked to do on a regular basis in Pittsburgh’s Cover 2. Flat responsibility, read the QB, sink to take away the corner route of the smash concept, and pick the ball off. Beautiful.
Cover 2 weakness is the seven route and he defended it as well as you can draw it up.
While he isn’t the most physical corner you’ll ever see, it’s pretty good and more than acceptable for the position. Comes downhill aggressively and looks to finish. This is the type of play you’ll see from him. Downhill with power that loses steam as he uncoils his hips and he has to wrap up to take him down. Good, not great, but I’m ok with it overall.
On the negative side, he is pretty aggressive. Chalk it up to his youth. He pulled a Ryan Shazier and came downhill on a scrambling QB against Ole Miss in 2015, giving up a crucial touchdown late in the game, and here, is burned on this sluggo against Washington.
For his faults, it’s important to remember he was playing at college football’s powerhouse against similar levels of competition at 19 and 20 years old. He earned Nick Saban’s trust to start as a redshirt freshmen, which says a lot. The Crimson’s Tide defense is one of the more complex one, leaning on pattern matching like Saban’s Rip/Liz Match.
Like Bama alumni Kareem Jackson, it may take Humphrey a little bit of time to round out his edges, but there is so much upside to like. At 21, his first contract will be up before he’s turned 26, meaning you could literally get ten years of him at his prime before age becomes a factor.
Projection: Top 15
Games Watched: vs Ole Miss (2015), at Tennessee, vs Texas A&M, vs Washington, vs Clemson