A loaded cornerback class could end up being the headline from the 2017 NFL Draft. Stars abound in this talented group, and one of the brightest prospects is Marlon Humphrey. Despite his status as a red-shirt sophomore, Humphrey has played in as many big games as anyone in this class. His lack of experience has led him to make some mistakes, but it also highlights his endless potential.
But what makes Marlon Humphrey stand out in arguably the greatest group of cornerback prospects ever? Here is a closer look at the talented Alabama corner.
Measurements – 6’0” 197 lbs
- Humphrey is an apex predator when the play is in front of him. He diagnoses well in the run game, takes tremendous routes in pursuit, and is a sure tackler.
- Plays with impressive physicality at the line of scrimmage, and has the strength to be a monster in press coverage.
- Has excellent speed to stay with receivers downfield, and the agility to make up for his mistakes – agility is his strongest asset, as it allows him to make plays in zone or man coverage.
- Has incredible physical tools that could make him an excellent cornerback once he works out his technical issues.
- Humphrey is a smooth mover in zone coverage, and clears the gap between him and his match-up with ease.
- Does a phenomenal job of shedding blocks in run defense, and clearly plays with a lot of passion.
- Makes plays on the ball in the short game, and is not afraid to take risks while jumping routes.
- He struggles when the ball is in the air deep downfield – has a hard time finding the ball in the air, and gets too handsy in those situations. He does a much better job of this when dropped back in zone coverage.
- Instincts need to be a bit cleaner on bunch formations and pick plays – easily confused in those situations, and his split-second hesitation often led to mistakes.
- Issues with instincts also show up in coverage at times – will take unnecessary risks in zone coverage, opening up big plays.
- His backpedal needs some work – turned his body far too early, which allowed receivers to get an extra step on him. He made up for that with his speed at times, but it will not be good enough at the NFL level.
Pro Player Comparison – Xavier Rhodes
In a class loaded with star cornerbacks, Marlon Humphrey stands out because of his physicality. Humphrey is a handful to deal with in the run game, as he does a phenomenal job of shedding blocks, and is a fantastic tackler. He is extremely physical in press coverage, and combines that exceptional speed and agility to recover from his mistakes. Humphrey has all the tools to be an incredible cornerback, but he needs to work through some technical issues. He needs to clean up some issues with his backpedal, because quicker receivers gain a step on him when he turns his body. His struggles with tracking the deep ball come back to bit him when that happens, and his physical nature often leads him to commit penalties.
Humphrey is like Xavier Rhodes in the sense that he is a solid run defender, but has issues in the deep-passing game. It took Rhodes a little while to work out his issues, and Humphrey could find himself in a similar situation. Humphrey is still incredibly young, so there is every chance he will pan out down the line. He would be a great fit on a team that can cover his flaws downfield with solid safety play. The Saints and Raiders are two teams that could provide him with a good home. He has the traits to be a first rounder, but his technical issues and the depth of this class might drop him to day-two. He has Pro Bowl potential either way.
Nick Rodriguez is the Managing Editor of EndZoneScore.com. He also covers the covers the NFL Draft, along with the Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Giants. Follow him on Twitter @NickRodriguez22.