In the days and weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, CardinalsSource will profile 30 draft prospects who could end up making their way to Arizona this offseason.
Player: Marlon Humphrey
Weight: 197 pounds
Arm length: 32 1/4 inches
Hand size: 8 3/4 inches
College stats: 2015: 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, eight passes defended, two forced fumbles, 2016: 36 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, five passes defended, one forced fumble.
Strengths: NFL teams love projectable traits, and Humphrey has plenty of them as he exits Alabama after playing just two seasons of college football. Humphrey has an excellent combination of size and speed and essentially has the ability to keep up with any draft-eligible receiver this year --perhaps outside of Washington's John Ross. What makes Humphrey a strong NFL prospect isn't just his 4.41 40-yard dash time, but his 6.75-second effort in the three-cone drill, which confirms the outstanding change of direction skills he displays on tape. Humphrey is both fast and quick, agile enough to keep up with receivers on down the field routes but fluid enough to anticipate breaks and stay on receivers' hips as they change directions. What we like most about Humphrey is the physicality he plays with against the run and against screens. Humphrey isn't afraid to step up toward the line of scrimmage, he has excellent anticipation skills in terms of knowing when and how to fill lanes, and he's a solid form tackler, which is to be expected from a cornerback who played at Alabama. While there are certainly some weaknesses to Humphrey's game, he's an all-around solid athlete with a fairly high ceiling.
Weaknesses: The greatest concern we have after watching Humphrey's clips is whether or not he'll be able to play press-man coverage in the NFL against more physical receivers. While Humphrey seemed to excel coming up against the run, he didn't demonstrate the same type of physicality when he was aligned close to the line of scrimmage on pass plays, and was susceptible to getting beat off of the ball. Part of Humphrey's issues here are that he appears to have a slower first step for a player with his speed, and thus needs to spend time catching up to receivers and playing from behind. In college, this wasn't an issue, but in the NFL, Humphrey could look like Cardinals' cornerback Brandon Williams did during the preseason last year. One of our other concerns about Humphrey is that even though he's tall enough to play the position and possesses good explosiveness, he doesn't consistently make plays on the ball at the highest point. Humphrey didn't test in the vertical leap at the NFL Combine, and we're not sure he's as strong when battling for 50/50 balls as he is defending slant routes and out routes.
Humphrey's fit: Even though Humphrey has been linked to the Cardinals in a few mock drafts, we don't think he's an ideal fit for the team's defensive system and don't believe Arizona should draft him if he's still on the board with the 13th overall pick. To find an immediate impact player opposite Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals want an ultra-twitchy athlete who is excellent in the open field and is a competitive ball hawk who can make plays in the air when competing against receivers. Though Humphrey has some nice athletic traits that would certainly interest the Cardinals, we think there's other cornerbacks available in this year's draft that can even be selected in the second or third round that would ultimately fit the Cardinals' scheme better. One of the question marks about Humphrey's game is how well he'll be able to handle bump-and-run coverage at the next level, and if the Cardinals are going to draft a cornerback early, they're going to want to make sure the player they select is stronger in press coverage than Humphrey is at this point in his development.