NFL draft profile: No. 33 — Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey, physical with downfield concerns

Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
6-foot-0, 197 pounds

Key stat: In 30 starts over the past two seasons on one of the best defenses in recent college football history, Humphrey intercepted five passes and broke up 13 other passes.

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The skinny: The son of former Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey (who also played for the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins), Marlon was a track and football star at one of the state’s best football programs and came to Tuscaloosa highly touted. After redshirting for the Crimson Tide in 2014, Humphrey started the past two seasons for the national champs in 2015 and the NCAA runners-up in 2016. Entered Bama with a reputation as a “track guy,” Humphrey said at the NFL scouting combine, but sought to prove he was a football player the past two seasons. “Toughness is a choice,” he said.

Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey (L) has a lot of good traits but can struggle with the long ball. (AP)
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey (L) has a lot of good traits but can struggle with the long ball. (AP)

Humphrey declared early for the draft following his redshirt sophomore season and will turn 21 in July. Turned in good times in the 3-cone drill (6.75 seconds) and 40-yard dash (4.41) at the combine but only bench-pressed 10 reps.

Best-suited destination: He has the size, toughness and attitude to play in a press-man scheme or a zone system that asks him to redirect receivers and be a good run stopper. Most teams are projecting him to an outside CB spot, but a few might be open to trying him at safety as well. He’d be a good fit with the Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

Upside: Plays with an edge. Presses receivers with intent to knock them off their blocks. Fights through traffic to make tackles. Can rag-doll receivers who try to get in his way and make a block. Solid tackler, with only occasional hiccups. Adept at ripping the ball out of ball carrier’s hands. Appears to talk a good game, too, trying to mentally defeat opponents without losing his own composure. Hits like a strong safety. Humphrey is excellent playing the ball in front of him, able to diagnose short and intermediate routes well, close quickly and prevent plays from happening on his watch. Reacts well and can stop on a dime, plant and go on the shorter stuff. Appears to look through receivers in zone coverage and read quarterbacks’ eyes well. Solidly built for the NFL game. Did a very nice job on Washington WR John Ross, whom Humphrey called the best receiver he’s faced, in the playoff semifinal.

Downside: Has small hands and is not a great playmaker in the air. Appears to have trouble tracking the ball at times, especially on passes downfield. Nearly every team Bama faced tried to expose this, often early in games. Sometimes relies too much on his makeup speed and will be caught with his pants down. Most of his catches allowed are 15 or more yards downfield. Allowed Clemson WR Mike Williams to make big plays in national title game. Humphrey struggles to locate the ball in the air and gain position to make plays downfield. Might have to be shielded by rangy safeties behind him. Guilty of jumping short stuff and biting on double moves. Sometimes guesses wrong too soon on routes. Has no experience playing inside and was primarily Bama’s left corner.

Scouting hot take: “It’s easy to see the plays he gives up, but a lot of that is correctable. He’s [20 years old], man. We can fix some of that stuff. He’s a big, tough kid who plays with that chip. He’s dealt with a lot of family stuff, so that toughness … you can see it out there.” — NFC secondary coach.

Player comp: He reminds us a bit of a thicker Desmond Trufant if he can clean up a little of his coverage technique.

Expected draft range: Top 40 picks, although the pre-draft injuries to Washington’s Sidney Jones and UCLA’s Fabian Moreau clearly improve Humphrey’s chances of going in Round 1.

Previous profiles

Nos. 51-100: Here’s who just missed the cut
No. 50: Indiana OG-C Dan Feeney
No. 49: Iowa DB Desmond King
No. 48: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
No. 47: Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt
No. 46. Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams
No. 45. Washington CB Sidney Jones
No. 44. Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
No. 43. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
No. 42. Florida DT Caleb Brantley
No. 41. Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu
No. 40. USC CB-KR Adoree’ Jackson
No. 39. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
No. 38. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
No. 37: Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
No. 36: Florida LB Jarrad Davis
No. 35: Washington S Budda Baker
No. 34: Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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