It’s no secret that the Packers need help at the cornerback position. Davon House’s return will provide the defense with someone who knows the system well, and veteran leadership that was lost when Sam Shields went down. Is that enough for the Packers to avoid taking a corner in the early rounds? With a class that is this talented, probably not. The Packers could take one of many corners from this draft in the first two rounds, and Marlon Humphrey is a strong candidate to be that pick.
Marlon Humphrey has God given size and athleticism. He’s 6’0,” 197 pounds and he knows how to use it. Humphrey shows off his strength in press coverage and if he’s being blocked he makes quick work of the wide receiver to get downhill to the football. He has good speed to keep with most receivers and quality acceleration that helps him close out on the football. Being an Alabama player, Humphrey has been thrown many different schemes, coverages and packages, and he learned them all without any issue, which can really benefit him in the NFL. Humphrey didn’t earn any kind of all-conference honors, but his skillset is still one NFL coaches feel like they can really mold.
While athleticism and aggressiveness are some of his biggest strengths, they’re also some of his biggest weaknesses. Sometimes Humphrey relies too much on his physical gifts and it gets him in to trouble. He plays a kind of coverage where he roams and gambles and too often can get beat. While he’s fast, he’s prone to the deep ball, as he gets lost and struggles to find the football. Against smaller, quicker receivers, his feet sometimes don’t do exactly what he wants. He can look a little clunky and be in a bad situation. His aggressiveness takes him out of plays because he bites on route fakes and these allow wide open receivers downfield. He allowed 19 yards per completion as a starter. While he didn’t give up many, the plays on him were always significant.
Likely a first round pick, Humphrey will be looked at by everybody. While his weaknesses seem potentially disastrous, he played just 2 years at Bama before he declared. He made a loud impact in that short of time, and is scratching the surface of his potential. Humphrey could go anywhere after 10 in the first round and it wouldn’t be a total shock. In this draft, it’s so corner heavy that teams will have have a plethora of guys to choose from and they will take the best fit for their defense. This will be an interesting draft to watch because once Lattimore is off the board, how will the cornerback position fall? With names like Humphrey, Adoree’ Jackson, Gareon Conley, Tre’davious White, Kevin King, Quincy Wilson, Teez Tabor, and a handful of others, there are going to be big names left in round 2.
If the Packers draft Humphrey, it’s likely that he will have to be protected somewhat due to his penchant for giving up the big play. He won’t be going against the number one guy on any team, but the potential is definitely there for that in the future, just not right away. Quality quarterbacks will try to find him and attack him whenever he’s matched against a burner. His play against the run is already something that he can provide to the Packers immediately, as long as he isn’t guessing and getting lost. It will be up to him and those that are teaching him to instill confidence and technique to prevent the big play.