2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey

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

The Good

– 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

The Bad

– 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

Bio

– 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

Tape Breakdown

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

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley
Rayshawn JenkinsChad KellyTrey HendricksonJeremy SprinkleJoe Williams
D’Onta ForemanCarlos WatkinsDamontae KazeeWayne GallmanWillie Quinn
Xavier WoodsElijah HoodMalik McDowellDesmond KingSolomon Thomas
Cordrea TankersleyRaekwon McMillanJosh Harvey-ClemonsChristian McCaffreyChris Carson
Montravius AdamsAaron JonesMack HollinsDeatrich Wise JrAdoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-SchusterJosh JonesDavon GodchauxLorenzo JeromeQuincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatuMike WilliamsAhkello WitherspoonDede WestbrookTedric Thompson
Marcus MayeJoe MixonTaywan TaylorTyson FernandezJarrad Davis
Ishmael ZamoraDaeshon HallCJ BeathardKendell BeckwithJalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul DouglasMarcus WilliamsDevonte FieldsJustin EvansKenny Golladay
Marquez WhiteChad WilliamsCurtis SamuelD.J. JonesSeth Russell
Amara DarbohNoah BrownMalik HookerCarroll Phillips

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Lambert58

    Love Humphrey for us at #30. If he’s still on the board when we pick, I will do a DeCastro dance.

  • Spencer Krick

    Shhhh Alex! Keep this guy a secret!

  • steel67

    It has been a long time since we drafted a Bama guy (Deshea Townsend), but I would not be disappointed if he was the pick.

  • Steelers12

    no way he get to #30

  • steelburg

    Alex as you mentioned he isn’t talked about a whole lot. Any chance he slides?

  • falconsaftey43

    Pretty solid all around player. He did give up a few to many 50/50 balls, but I don’t think it’s a glaring issue. Would be awesome at 30.

  • Boots

    One reason I haven’t talked about him is bc I never dreamt that he could be available at 30, but take him in a heartbeat if he’s somehow still there!

  • Alex Kozora

    I can’t rule anything out. But it’s doubtful.

  • Ike Evans

    Hes alot like ike….including the suspect ball skills

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yes… yes… Ol’ Darth here is the one to blame, for having to drag Humphrey back out into the sunlight, since his stock had been steadily falling. I’m sorry. Guilty. I just couldn’t see why people were so quiet about this kid, and why others CB ‘s were soaking up all of the rays. When it comes to “fits” for Pittsburgh, I think Marlon should be right at the top. And less than a month ago, Humphrey was almost always either the 2nd or 3rd CB taken off of the board, in every single punditry produced mock draft. Lately, I’ve seen him fall into the Second Round, as guys like Gareon Conley, Tre White, Kevin King, Quincy Wilson, and even Adoree Jackson, were being picked now ahead of him. Sure, these are just “mocks” and mean nothing, but still.

    Alex did a good job as always, of breaking down Humphrey, so I won’t get deep into that. I’ll just give my opinion that as CB’s go, I’d put Humphrey right near the top of my list as guys I’d like to see in Pittsburgh. He has the skills, attitude, pedigree, and potential, that we could certainly use here. I used to think it’d be crazy to mock him to us at pick 30. But now, I think it is a realistic possibility that he falls right into our laps. I think he also COULD be moved around the Secondary, even though as Alex said, he’s primarily played LCB. I think he has the requisite IQ, in order to be able to make the switch if we needed him to.

    I kinda wish I wouldn’t have been beating this drum for the past few weeks on Humphrey, since I know that the Depot here has more reach and pull than you guys might want to admit. But I just felt like I had to. Especially with all of the Tre’ White talk at 30 lately (for the record, as many know, I like White too). Ultimately, I’ll still be a bit surprised if Humphrey IS still available come pick 30. But I wouldn’t be shocked anymore. And if he is, I hope we do run to the podium. Another young, talented, hungry, and athletic CB, is just what the doctor ordered. Tom Brady killers are gonna be scattered throughout the 2-4 range for us. Let’s get a Brandin Cooks/Julian Edelman/Chris Hogan silencer, if this talented kid is still there. Humphrey has the type of demeanor to punch one of these WR’s in the mouth. Gloriously so.

  • Carl Mendelius

    Humphrey struggled on deep passes and gave up an average of 16.3 yards per catch in 2016, and 17.4 in 2015. Struggles to find the ball in the air and play through the receiver’s hands, leading to too many big plays.
    All the above tells us the Humphrey is better suited to play zone when the ball is in front of him.

  • LucasY59

    I thought Awuzie was the most similar to Ike, and then Ike even said the same in article on CB sleepers he wrote

  • LucasY59

    I think Humphrey could be a good fit with the Steelers, but I usually had him at #3 behind Lattimore and Jones, and then when Sidney got hurt I thought about him even less since I highly doubt he makes it out of the top 25 (and a good chance he is gone by the time the 1st rd is half over)

  • Ike Evans

    Hmmm i never thought of that. Ike was probably the better physical specimen….awuzie is more versatile then ike. Id go with ike’s expertise of himself tho lol

  • Darth Blount 47

    Heck, I used to think so too. But even David Todd on the last Terrible Podcast had him still on the board for us at 30. I’ve seen more than just him in the last week, say that Humphrey is all of a sudden a 25-40 type of pick. I don’t know why, because like you said, I always had him going in the top 20. But something has been shifting. And like someone else mentioned, it very well may be a product of other guys now moving up. If you look at the overall prospect list, this draft is LOADED. So some of those earlier highly thought of guys HAVE to fall, if some of the late risers are actually gonna now be 1st round guys.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’ve always thought of him as a better fit for Zone, which just so happens to be what we primarily play. 🙂

    Plus, he is a good run defender, borderline great. And is aggressive. He likes to really get under the skin of WR’s and RB’s. I like that kind of attitude in a CB.

  • Carl Mendelius

    But there have been reports that the front office wants the secondary to change and play man coverage much more often. It seems as though they finally realized that playing zone will never get the job done against the Pats.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’ll believe those “reports” when I see us not playing Zone like we have for DECADES and actually see us play Man-Press. No way the scales tip over to Man. Sure we might blend more in, but we’ll always primarily be a Zone team until the scheme changes wholly.

  • Alex Kozora

    I think it’s important to keep in mind how young he is. Where he is right now doesn’t mean where he’ll be at 23. I think he’ll progress quickly. When you’re a 19 year old in the SEC going against top talent, you’ll take lumps.

    Plus, some of those were just really good catches. Check out Mike Williams’ near-circus catch against him this year. It happens.

  • LucasY59

    the physicality and speed with decent size (Ike was a little bigger and faster) are what reminded me of him, but I agree Chidobe has played every position in the secondary so he has been used differently than Taylor was

  • LucasY59

    I agree he seems to have slid, so there is the possibility, but for the most part the late risers dont rise that far, the the guys that fall dont fall far unless there is some other reason (and I dont think Humphrey has any non football issues)

  • Steeler4l1f3

    Favorite corner in the draft. Good press/man, great zone, has height and length, top tier athlete, aggressive, fast, tremendous read and react ability and willing to play the run. Love that he plays with an edge and is oozing with the good kind of swag. (Determined and confident not arrogant and cocky)

    Seen some mocks that have him in round 2 or bottom of round 1 which is pretty crazy considering his skills. Humphrey and Barnett were my two favorite players in college that I had on my wish list. Neither will be there at 30 but a guy can dream, right?