The Packers have had good luck drafting Alabama players of late, and with the obvious need at cornerback, Marlon Humphrey will be on many a Packers fan’s radar as the Combine approaches. Going into the 2016 season, there was a lot of optimism about 2nd year players Randall, Rollins, and UFA Ladarious Gunter. While many hope that the 2016 season was (not unlike Davante Adams’ 2nd year) injury riddled and that their third year will be a turnaround, Packers fans know that the cornerback position must be addressed if the defense is going to be able to hold its own against teams with a strong passing attack.
Enter Marlon Humphrey.
Status: 3rd year Sophomore
Weight: 198 lbs.
At 6 foot one inch, Humphrey seems to be the body type that the Packers have been missing at the cornerback position. A tall, rangy cornerback with excellent coverage skills. But Humphrey is more than just a cornerback prospect. He was also a special teams stud at Alabama, recording 4 solo tackles and an assist as a Freshman. Then, in the championship game, he made a touchdown saving tackle and added to that a fourth-quarter onside kick reception that he hauled in like a reciever. Truly, Marlon Humphrey is versatile.
The Packers are well known for their insistence on versatility, and Humphrey seems to fit that mold as well as the need for a possible star cover guy in the backfield. His one knock is his potency against the run, but on a team that already has a strong run defense and the benefit of a 3-4 scheme, this may be negligible. And there is always room for improvement.
Finally, Marlon Humphrey is young. The Packers’ youth movement has come under criticism of late, but the fact that Humphrey is a third-year sophomore who won’t be of legal drinking age until July 8, is right up Ted Thompson’s alley. It also means that Humphrey can add mass to his frame and adjust his body to the rigors of NFL football.
The question is, with his size, speed and athleticism, will Humphrey last until the end of the first round? With a deep cornerback draft and his youth counted against him perhaps by other teams, he could last. While Walter Football has him going number 12 to the Browns and the Packers picking up Sidney Jones out of Washington at 29, other draftniks disagree. With the versatility and youth that Humphrey possesses, however, one would expect him to be fairly high on Ted Thompson’s board.
First of all, a big thanks to Peter Vargas for posing the question of how Marlon Humphrey may fit on the Packers. If you have players that you have your eye on, and would like to get my take, just post their names in the comments below and I would be happy to give you my take. With that said…here it is:
The versatility and athleticism of Marlon Humphrey really jump out at me, and at such a young age…a coaching staff would salivate to work with him. Another thing I like about this prospect is that he played for a big time school and played big in big games. His boundary presence would be a welcome addition to the Packers backfield and a serious upgrade from the poor trailing technique that we saw this past season. Marlon is able to use the sideline as a defender and “pinch” receivers while matching them stride for stride. Said to have great instincts and the ability to read the quarterback, he may be a shot of vitamin C on a Packers defense that played all season with a cold. Humphrey would have to work on his toughness against the run, but as you can see below he is a willing tackler and with some work on pad level (at 6’1″, that is common) he should be stout against top notch NFL running backs or at least solid enough to allow a follow-up assist. Marlon Humphrey looks the part of a true, press/man corner who has the speed and size to keep up with elite WR’s in the NFL. While there is still a lot of time and testing between now and the draft, Humphrey is the kind of prospect that would make many Packers fans excited.
So there you have it, an early (very early) look at Marlon Humphrey. Here are some highlights to whet your appetite: