Draft Daily: Is Marlon Humphrey a draft sleeper?
Analyst Gordon McGuinness looks at the under-the-radar cornerback, plus touches on Gareon Conley and Mack Hollins in Draft Daily.
Draft Daily: Is Marlon Humphrey a draft sleeper?
The PFF Draft Daily will hit on a number of NFL Draft-related topics including recent news, scouting reports, PFF draft takes and much more on a daily basis.
Is Marlon Humphrey underrated in a deep cornerback class?
We already know that this is considered one of, if not the, best cornerback classes in the past decade, and we could easily see six or more cornerbacks go on the first night of the NFL draft in April. With so much talent at the position, it’s only natural that some players will fall a little further than they should, and the pre-draft hype seems to suggest that Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey is only a borderline first-round selection. Is that doing him a disservice?
Humphrey has his flaws, and has struggled on downfield throws at times throughout his career — allowing an average of 17.4 and 16.3 yards per catch in 2015 and 2016, respectively — but he has also picked off five passes and broken up 12 more over the past two seasons.
He looks at his most comfortable when the play is in front of him, and is an ideal fit in zone coverage where he can read, react and close. At 6-feet-1 he has the length that teams covet and has shown the ball skills to go up and win the ball, not just swat it away.
Using one of the charts from the PFF Draft Pass, which is full of interesting information about all of the top prospects in the draft, we can see that Humphrey ranks better than the draft class average in every major category, with his coverage grade in particular standing out.
Perhaps how often he has been beaten deep will be the reason he falls out of the first round, but with his overall skill set, he has the potential to be a major steal for the right team.
Scouting report for Ohio State CB Gareon Conley
One of the two Ohio State cornerbacks who people believe have a chance to go in the first round (with teammate Marshon Lattimore a lock at this point), Conley started off the 2016 season incredibly well, and put together one of the more eye-popping statistical seasons of any player in this draft class. A perfect fit in man coverage, and someone who needs to work on his tackling, Conley allowed an NFL passer rating of just 14.0, best in the nation, on throws into his coverage in 2016.
PFF “My Guys”
We have a running document where PFF analysts list their favorite players to watch and analyze during draft season. They’re not necessarily the best players in the draft, but players an analyst believes in more than the hype surround the prospect or perhaps his expected draft position.
Here’s analyst Bryson Vesnaver’s take on North Carolina wide receiver Mack Hollins:
While most people know all of the top-level, big-name receivers in this draft class, there’s one guy that I really love who’s flying under the radar. That would be North Carolina WR Mack Hollins. At 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, Hollins is a big receiver with speed to boot. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL combine despite pulling his quad and stumbling (and eventually falling down) with about eight yards to go. Watch him on tape and you see that he is far faster than that.
Hollins statistical production is curious, as he had just 81 catches for 1667 yards combined over the past three seasons. But of those 81 catches, 20 of them went for touchdowns. He could’ve had a lot more too, if he wasn’t dealing with underthrows as often as he did. While it’s odd that he didn’t have better numbers considering what I’ve seen on tape from him, it’s not the most concerning thing. He also played on every special-teams unit each season for the Tar Heels and was a captain last season. That is a big deal for a lot of NFL teams.
Ultimately, I don’t expect Hollins to be drafted before the fourth round. But I think he’ll be a steal for a team. He’ll be an instant contributor on any special-teams unit you ask him. And he has the size, pure speed, tracking ability and hands to be a deep threat right out of the gate, and could develop into a more consistent receiver over the years. If he gets into an offense with a big-armed quarterback, he could really do some damage.
PFF Draft Podcast
Check out our latest PFF Draft Podcast as senior analysts Steve Palazzolo and Mike Renner break down combine winners and discuss Steve’s latest mock draft. Mike gives his usual hot take, overcommits to his “first-round locks” and they team up to create yet another scouting term to add to your vocabulary. We are also blessed with Nathan Jahnke’s mind-blowing stat of the week, quickly becoming the most-talked about segment in football podcasting.
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PFF Draft Pass
PFF Draft Pass has officially launched, and can be accessed by clicking here. Users can now view PFF signature stat breakdowns by position, and will soon have access to expanded scouting profiles with grades and signature stats for each top prospect. In addition, PFF Draft Pass users will have access to the PDF version of the PFF Draft Pass in the coming weeks.
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Gordon McGuinness | Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst
Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.