Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
6’1 196 lbs.
Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Clemson, 2016 vs. USC, 2016 vs. Auburn, 2016 vs. Texas A&M
Humphrey is an absolute pleasure to watch at the cornerback position. He may not have taken a pro snap yet, but professional may be the best way to describe how he plays the game of football. He combines sound technique with natural instincts and a tenacity that stretches right to the whistle on every play.
The first thing you notice about Humphrey is his NFL-ready stature. He has the height and weight teams crave at number one corner. Humphrey possesses a good balance of man and zone coverage abilities, looking comfortable at any position, during any point of the game.
Humphrey boasts an all-around skill set as both a coverage player and eager run-supporter. He brings a nasty streak to his tackles, especially in swarm tackles when the play is stalled. Humphrey will contribute as a starter from day one on an NFL field, and will flourish into an elite player at his position within three years.
Play Recognition: 9 out of 10
Against A&M, they were trying this bubble screen out of a stack two-receiver set, they tried the screen twice, then had receiver Josh Reynolds go downfield out of the same set, followed by another screen. Result of those four plays? -6 yards, a forced fumble, and an interception. Humphrey can absolutely dial in on his diagnose and shows that ability regularly.
Speed: 4 out of 5
Auburn tested Humphrey’s downfield coverage early and often, with fly patterns against his press coverage, he allowed zero receptions, but slight downfield separation. No other issues with speed show up on tape, and he showed exceptional functional speed in chasing down USC running back Ronald Jones from behind to limit a big gain.
Mirroring: 10 out of 10
Time and again on tape, Humphrey shows impressive ability to run with receivers all over the field.
Pursuit: 5 out of 5
Humphrey constantly uses his plus athleticism to disrupt plays, even those where his receiver isn’t targeted. In the 2015 National Championship against Clemson, Humphrey was forced to cover roughly 45 yards between two receivers, the moment QB DeShaun Watson unloaded the ball, Humphrey sprinted back to help the safety in coverage, covering about 20 of those yards to force an incomplete pass in the endzone.
Man: 14 out of 15
The best way to describe him in man is sticky. He likes to use his hands to feel the receiver’s directional changes, and may draw flags at the next level because of that. That’s really the only knock I could find.
Zone: 13 out of 15
While he’s clearly a man corner first, Humphrey looks like he can flourish in a Cover 2 scheme just as well. He understands the spacing concepts and uses anticipation well while reading the eyes of the quarterback.
Press: 4 out of 5
He looks like he loves to get physical at the line of scrimmage, but sometimes fails to get his bump, which has caused issues. That issue is scarce, however, and can be cleaned up with slightly better technique.
Tackle: 4 out of 5
Has a couple of missed tackles on tape, but is typically very reliable in this area, highlighted by those aforementioned screen plays against the Aggies.
Ball Skills: 4 out of 5
On tape, Humphrey did not drop any interceptable balls, which is exciting for his pro prospects, he has 8 career turnovers in 29 games in college (5 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. The only slight knock is a relative lack of pass deflections.
Tackle: 3 out of 5
While Humphrey is an aggressor when the play is stalled on runs to the outside, he doesn’t like to mix it up on the inside runs, which could help in the long run in terms of his health.
Play Recognition: 4 out of 5
He’s so smart with the way he positions himself, regardless of the situation, when the play is moving forward, he places himself in the best angle to limit the gain, when the play is moving backward, he sprints upfield to help with the tackle, and when the play is moving outside, he’s a capable edge setter, but has slight leverage issues as shown by a punishing pancake block against Clemson.
Willingness: 4 out of 5
He shows a clear eagerness to help whenever a run gets out of hand, but as previously mentioned, doesn’t like to get involved on inside runs.
Injury: 8 out of 10
A hamstring injury that limited him in practice before the college football playoffs in 2016 could be a concern going forward.
Total Prospect Rating: 86/100
Pro Comparison: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings
A little thicker than Humphrey but the same height, Rhodes is coming off a career year in which his stingy pass coverage and physical brand of play galvanized the third best pass defense in the NFL. Both Rhodes and Humphrey possess this physical nature and mean streak in both coverage and run support. Both also possess excellent ball skills to turn solid coverage into interceptions. Rhodes was solid from the get-go and has entered his prime relatively early, expect Humphrey to develop similarly.