Former Seahawks and Panthers scout turned NFL draft analyst, Bucky Brooks, published his 2017 All-Rookie team predictions. Baltimore Ravens first round selection Marlon Humphrey earned placement as one of two starting cornerbacks:
His other starting corner is Tre’Davious White of the Bills. Notably, both Ohio State corners Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, who were often ranked as superior prospects at the position during the draft cycle, did not make the list. It appears that Brooks expects Humphrey to beat out recently acquired veteran Brandon Carr for a starting role on the Ravens defense.
Neither of the Ravens exciting Day 2 rookie pass rushers, Tyus Bowser or Timmy Williams, made the cut. The starting edge rushers were a pair of top-15 overall picks, Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett. Brooks chose the highest drafted prospects at most positions.
Wideout Corey Davis, who was picked fifth overall by the Titans, was surprisingly not included on Brooks’ All-Rookie squad. The highly productive Davis is poised to serve as Marcus Mariota’s primary receiving threat, with approximately 100 targets expected. Nevertheless, Mike Williams of the Chargers and Zay Jones of the Bills were Brooks’ projected top rookie receivers.
The choice of Humphrey has been knocked by some in the fanbase since he has had issues when defending the deep ball. His production at Alabama actually shows a player with plus ball skills. In 2015, Humphrey deflected eight passes and intercepted three. Last season, he posted two interceptions, returning one for a score, along with five passes defended. For comparison, Lattimore got his hands on 15 passes and Conley 19 combined over the past two seasons, respectively.
Humphrey surely allowed some preventable long completions in college, but many were of the fluke variety. He was usually in perfect position and disrupted the receiver at the catch point, yet his assignment often made tough concentration catches. Neither Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr nor Tony Jefferson have reputations as ballhawks. If the Ravens first round selection does indeed see significant snaps ahead of cornerbacks Carr or Tavon Young, he should battle savvy safety Eric Weddle for the team lead in interceptions next season.