Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Weight: 197 pounds
2016: 36 TKL, 5 PD, 2 INT, 1 FF
2015: 45 TKL, 8 PD, 3 INT, 2 FF
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40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds
Bench press: 10 reps
Broad jump: 125.0 inches
3-done drill: 6.75 seconds
It feels as though the Eagles have been looking for a reliable cornerback who is capable of holding up in press-man coverage forever, a search that will continue in the 2017 NFL Draft. Hell, most people would be happy if the draft produced any halfway decent cornerback at this point.
Marlon Humphrey has the potential to be that, and more.
The first thing that stands out about Humphrey when you turn on the tape is his physicality. He jams wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and uses his broad frame to re-route would-be targets. Humphrey doesn't give receivers much room down the field, either, often maintaining blanket coverage beyond the five-yard contact window. In the running game, Humphrey will come crashing down on ball carriers and blockers with reckless abandon.
Humphrey's competitiveness seems like a great fit for Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's aggressive scheme. That willingness to mix it up with receivers and attack the line of scrimmage are traits Schwartz values almost as much as intercepting passes.
He can do that, too. A redshirt sophomore, Humphrey recorded 5 picks in his only two seasons with the Crimson Tide. Perhaps more impressive than the numbers was the instinct on display. Humphrey showed an impressive understanding of zone concepts, along with the recognition and quickness to fill holes quickly.
Humphrey is at his best within 10-15 yards of the line of scrimmage, while simultaneously possessing the skill set to become a shutdown corner at every level.
The biggest concern is with an unrefined technique. When a receiver gets by Humphrey, he'll turn awkwardly or spin the wrong way, creating additional separation -- a step or two that will prove costly against NFL talent. He doesn't always track the ball when it's in the air, either, and his physical brand of coverage is sure to draw penalties.
These flaws should not be enough to scare the Eagles. Defensive backs coach Cory Undlin has drawn rave reviews for his work on deep-coverage techniques, so the right person is in place to correct those bad habits. Furthermore, Humphrey only turns 21 in July, which means there's plenty of time to develop his talent, and the high-school track star has 4.4 speed as well, so it's not a question of athleticism.
The Eagles even have the personnel in place to ease any shortcomings Humphrey may have vertically. With Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod lining up at safety, there's going to be help over the top more often than not.
Even if Humphrey never becomes better than average at defending the deep pass, he makes sense in Schwartz's scheme, which is predicated on pressuring the quarterback. With the ball coming out fast, how Humphrey can affect plays within those 10-15 yards is arguably more important.
And with Undlin tutoring and a pair of Pro Bowl-caliber safeties in the secondary, there's nothing to prevent Humphrey from transforming into a dominant coverman. This is a raw-but-very-gifted athlete and physical specimen coming from an SEC program that regularly produces pro players. The fact that he might be a perfect fit for what Schwartz is trying to accomplish may just be the icing on the cake.
The Eagles held an official pre-draft visit with Humphrey in March, according to Chase Goodbread for NFL.com, so it would appear the kid is legitimately on the radar.
Other Eagles draft targets at No. 14:
Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
Michigan DE Taco Charlton
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
LSU RB Leonard Fournette
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
Washington WR John Ross
Clemson WR Mike Williams