The Ravens turned some heads last night when they selected Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey with the 16th overall pick in the draft.
It wasn’t what many fans or media members thought was going to occur, not with a slew of pass rushers and some decent offensive players still available.
“He is a Raven,” said Ravens assistant general manger Eric DeCosta following the pick. “He plays like the way we play football.
“He is a tough guy. We know a lot about him, we have been watching this guy for a long time. He is a guy that, universally, I think that our scouts and coaches … Everybody liked [him] a lot.
“He passed every test, and he is an Alabama guy, so he is a good fit.”
Humphrey’s selection marks the eighth time the organization has selected a player from the prominent collegiate program, Ozzie Newsome’s alma mater.
Following an All-American freshman season, Humphrey followed up with an outstanding sophomore season for the Crimson Tide leading many draft gurus, including the Ravens brass, to believe the 6-2, 197-pound corner’s playing ability will translate to the NFL.
“Now we feel like we have four really good corners with Brandon [Carr], Jimmy [Smith] and Tavon [Young], along with Marlon,” stated Newsome. “I came into this league with a guy that was big on size and speed at most positions, and one of the positions that it was foremost was at the corner position.
“That is what Marlon brings. He has great size, he has really, really long arms, and he can run. I mean, he ran in the Junior Olympics and all of that.
“We just think … I feel like we got better in the secondary and then when you add that we have Tony [Jefferson] and ‘Webby’ [Lardarius Webb] along with [Eric] Weddle, then we are really strong in the secondary right now. But we’re glad to have Marlon.”
One of the biggest concerns regarding the Alabama corner is his inability to defend the deep pass. After all, it was on display on the biggest stage, the National Championship game, for all to see.
“He is going to do a good job of that,” said John Harbaugh about the deep ball concerns. “Every player has plays on tape.
“You see those highlights, and other teams make plays. I think I saw a clip where they had a pretty good receiver from Clemson [Mike Williams] who made a play against Marlon late in the game. OK, well those guys will probably get a chance to … He [Marlon] will get his payback maybe, he will get his opportunity to get revenge on that play, too, later on, because they will be playing against each other.
“That’s football. Marlon can handle the deep ball, he is really great, like Eric said, at the line of scrimmage. He jams people up, he plays press, he is physical [and] he does not let receivers get off the line of scrimmage too often.
“He is a great tackler. He is a good man-to-man player, he is a good zone player, he has really good hands. He has all the tools that you want in a top corner.”
While it remains to be seen just how often the rookie first-round draft pick will see the field in 2017, the pick, while not sexy, does provide the Ravens with depth and youth.
They need all the help they can get against the stout wide receivers in the AFC North.
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