By Greg Gabriel--
Editor's note: You can read Gabriel's other scouting reports on highly regarded NFL Draft prospects by clicking here.
(CBS) This year's NFL Draft is deep at cornerback, and one certain to be drafted high is Alabama's Marlon Humphrey.
Like many players in this draft, Humphrey is a third-year sophomore. He enrolled in 2014 and redshirted that season. In 2015, he became a starter and finished the season with 45 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and eight pass breakups.
In 2016, he was again a full-time starter and had 36 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups. The numbers were down, but that's in part because opponents stayed away from him.
Just three years out of high school, Humphrey hasn't physically matured. He's about 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, but he'll get bigger and stronger over the next couple of years. He's a really good athlete with good body control, speed, flexibility and explosiveness. I'd estimate he'll run in the mid 4.4s at the NFL Combine later this week, as well as having excellent times in the shuttles.
As well as having good size, Humphrey has long arms, allowing him to play taller than he measures. He has strength and can be a physical player when he wants. In the run game, he showed a good ability to take on and get rid of blockers, and he's a very good tackler. You will see him blow up his opponent on occasion.
Alabama utilizes an NFL-style defense, as the cornerbacks play a lot of man -- especially press man -- but also mix it up with some zone. In press coverage, Humphrey showed the skills to mirror his opponent through moves. He has quick feet, plays with natural bend and can transition well.
In zone, Humphrey for the most part keeps good position and has good awareness. He will look to help out other defensive backs when he's free. Humphrey played the underneath routes well and closed quickly to either break up the pass or keep the gain short. While he showed he can track the deep ball, there are some scouts who feel that is the weakest part of his game. He has good hands, helping him make interceptions.
Looking ahead to the draft, I don't see Humphrey as an option for the Bears at No. 3 overall, but he would be a candidate to draft if they were to trade down to the 10-15 area of the first round. He has the skill set to come in and start right away and be a productive player as a rookie. Humphrey should become a No. 1 cornerback for most teams by his second or third year.
Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.
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