For the third time in as many drafts, the Baltimore Ravens used an early-round pick on a player with NFL bloodlines.
With their top two picks in the 2015 draft, the Ravens took wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams, both of whom have fathers who played in the league. Perriman’s dad, Brett, was a wide receiver, mostly with the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints, from 1988-1997. Williams’ dad, Brian, was a center for the New York Giants from 1989-1996 and in 1999.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore’s first-round draft pick April 27, follows that tradition. His dad, Bobby, played running back for the Denver Broncos from 1989-1991 and for the Miami Dolphins in 1992.
Marlon Humphrey joined Glenn Clark Radio April 28 and discussed what it was like to have a former professional by his side as he strived for his dream of making it to the NFL.
“Growing up, every day, you don’t really notice it, but your dad’s telling you something that you need to know for this time now,” Humphrey, 20, said. “Even when I was 10 years old, I can think of stories my dad’s told me about the NFL, about stories he’s had, things he’s done wrong, things he’s done right. That’s the best part, just knowing a lot of things he’s done wrong and knowing a lot of things he’s done right.
“And I guess the worst part would maybe be, ‘Hey, I’m Marlon Humphrey.’ ‘Hey, are you Bobby Humphrey’s son?’ That might be the worst, but that’s not a bad worst. I can’t say it’s too bad, but that’s kind of just a crazy thing that’s just pretty wild, just goes off his legacy.”
Like his father, Humphrey starred at Alabama. He was a five-star recruit out of Hoover High in Alabama and redshirted with the Crimson Tide in 2014. He started 29 games throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons, racking up 81 tackles — including 6.5 for a loss — and five interceptions. Alabama lost a combined two games during those two seasons and reached the national championship game twice, winning once.
Humphrey joins a long list of Alabama players to be drafted by the Ravens. Outside linebacker Tim Williams, who played with the Crimson Tide from 2013-16, was drafted by Baltimore in the third round of the NFL Draft April 28. Other Alabama players drafted by the Ravens include inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (first round, 2014); outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (second round, 2012); defensive tackle Terrence Cody (second round, 2010); fullback Le’Ron McClain (fourth round, 2007); outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (fourth round, 2003); tight end Terry Jones (fifth round, 2002); and defensive back Ralph Staten (seventh round, 1997).
“I kind of asked guys that were a little bit older than me as a freshman who the best player they had ever seen play, and every player told me C.J. Mosley, mainly from the way he practiced,” Humphrey said. “They said the plays you make in practice and his natural leadership abilities just kind of put him head and shoulders over everybody else.
“For me, when you think of the Ravens, you think of defense. I’m sure the offense is great, but when I think of the Ravens, I think of defense — smash mouth defense is kind of what they build on, just toughness. Me coming from Alabama, I feel like Alabama’s a big defensive place, too, so going to the Ravens, there’s a little bit more [emphasis] on that defense, I’m really excited to join that.”
As for Humphrey, he joins a revamped Baltimore secondary. The Ravens added to the secondary in free agency by signing safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr and re-signing the versatile Lardarius Webb. Then, Baltimore drafted Humphrey and safety Chuck Clark (Virginia Tech). The top cornerbacks appear to be Smith, Carr, Humphrey and Tavon Young, in some order.
The Ravens finished ninth in the NFL in passing yards allowed last year, but struggled down the stretch with top cornerback Jimmy Smith injured. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 406 yards against Baltimore Dec. 12. The Pittsburgh Steelers, led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, scored 21 points during the fourth quarter against the Ravens Dec. 25.
Humphrey, at 6-foot and 197 pounds with long arms, has the size teams want in covering receivers on the perimeter. Having run a 4.41 40-yard dash, he’s got the speed for that assignment, too. As one scouting report says, Humphrey “has the body type and athletic traits that are out of central casting.” But he had the reputation at Alabama for being susceptible to the deep ball, something he knows he has to improve upon.
“Every player has his faults. It’s something that I don’t always do the best, but I’m sure whatever DB coach I’m going to, that’s one of the things I’m going to tell him from day one,” Humphrey said. “I want to be that Pro Bowl corner, and I’m just going to ask him if he can help me be that guy that I want to be. Hopefully, all those flaws get fixed, and I can start making some big plays [at] the corner position.”
For more from Humphrey, listen to the complete interview here: