I first want to start by saying this: I am in no way shape or form a scout. I don’t get paid to do any of this. I don’t expect you to hold my opinions on draft prospects to a higher standard than yours or anyone else’s. I’ll never comment or offer my opinion on anything I don’t feel I am educated about. I trust my eyes more than most, but I will never ever be the guy that thinks he is 100% right on a prospect because I’ve watched countless hours on them. The draft is a crapshoot and scouts who get paid a lot of money miss annually on prospects so I don’t expect to be right all the time. Honestly I, and everyone else are wrong more than we are right, which is fine! I simply love talking the draft, it’s one of my favorite times of the year.
So without further ado, here is the first prospect I think the Eagles will be interested in if he is available when the Eagles are on the clock.
Marlon Humphrey – CB – Alabama: Yes, an Alabama cornerback. I’ve heard it. He was surrounded by a great pass rush, he can’t cover downfield, he has no ball skills. Thing is, I think one of those three things are true about Humphrey. The Alabama defense as a whole was stacked. The defensive line is filled with tons of talent, Rueben Foster is a near lock to go in round 1, but that does’t mean Marlon Humphrey is this average cornerback who was hidden by talent around him. He was rarely asked to cover very long because Alabama’s defense got to the QB very fast, but when he did I think he did it well. Humpohrey’s ball skills are not great, but I think they’re underrated. The narrative seems to be he looks lost when the ball is in the air, I disagree and I’ll show why.
Let’s talk about the fit.
Jim Schwartz preaches competition. He loves player’s on his defense who fight on every play. Marlon Humphrey is that guy. Whether it’s in coverage or helping out in the run game, Humphrey competes on every single play.
My favorite part of Marlon Humphrey’s game is his ability to come up and tackle in the run game. Whether it’s a wide receiver screen on his side, or a running back cuts outside towards him, Humphrey is always involved.
Now the fun part. Let’s look at a few plays that sum up Humphrey’s game.
What you don’t see on this play is Humphrey completely man handle his man and shed a block, then he fires into the running back like a missile. Love it.
Wide receiver screens don’t work either. Love the fact Humphrey doesn’t think twice, he sees the play develop and reacts.
This play doesn’t seem like much, but watch Humphrey press John Ross, one of the best wide receiver’s in the draft class. Humphrey plays mean and has confidence which the Eagles secondary desperately needs. John Ross’ stats vs Alabama? 5 catches for 28 yards and 0 touchdowns. Humphrey had a lot to do with that.
Now let’s look at some coverage from Marlon Humphrey. His strengths are jamming receivers and jumping short routes. Here is Humphrey in zone coverage, looks like cover-2. He reads the QB’s eyes, steps toward the flat, then breaks back to pick off the corner route. Ball skills don’t look bad to me here.
Next play. Let’s talk about recovery. Humphrey is typically really good at getting his hands on receivers and jamming at the line. It doesn’t always workout, though. Here, he gets beat at the line, catches up to the receiver, locates the ball and gets a nice pass deflection. Again, showing solid ball skills.
Although Humphrey is aggressive, he shows something here. Top of the screen, Arkansas runs a “sluggo” on Humphrey, and he doesn’t even bite. Sticks on his man and knows a double move is coming.
Obviously Marlon Humphrey isn’t a perfect prospect, he has stiff hips and isn’t great at locating the ball. Despite that, I think he can turn into a really good cornerback because of how quick his feet are and how good he is at using his arms and size is press. If Marlon Humophrey is there at pick 14, I expect the Eagles (with heavy influence from Jim Schwartz) to think long and hard about selecting him.
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