Since entering the league in 2016, former first-round pick Marlon Humphrey has put together two consecutive strong seasons and is quietly emerging as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. Humphrey just turned 23 years old, too, so it’s safe to assume the best has yet to come.
Per PFF, Humphrey graded out as the 11th-best cornerback in the league. His allowed catch rate of 52.5 ranked 7th at the position, however, and he was tied for third in forced incompletion rate at 22.5%. Humphrey has already established a solid foundation and the sky is the limit as he enters his third season.
Here are three goals for Humphrey ahead of the 2019-20 season. Be sure to join the conversation and share your thoughts below!
1) Ascend to elite status
Despite playing at an extremely high level for most of the past two seasons, you rarely hear Humphrey’s name in the conversation among best cornerbacks in the league. While the lack of national recognition he receives is frankly disrespectful, Humphrey has the chance to change that narrative next season. Ravens fans know how good he is but it remains to be seen how good he can still become. Taking another step forward and continuing his stout play on the outside on one the best defenses in the league should vault Humphrey into the elite stratosphere, which features guys like Patrick Peterson and Jalen Ramsey. Humphrey should be recognized as on-par with the top corners in the league by the end of the season, if not at the very top of the list.
2) Make the Pro Bowl
One way to join said conversation is to be recognized on a prominent stage, in this case being the NFL Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl has become somewhat of a popularity contest in recent years, but it’s still designed to represent the best players in the league at each position. There’s a solid argument to be had that Humphrey was snubbed from earning Pro Bowl honors last season, although the AFC cornerbacks chosen were certainly deserving in their own right. Still, Humphrey should have an even better chance of being selected to the Pro Bowl next season and earning a spot on the roster should certainly be a goal of his. Neither Jimmy Smith nor Brandon Carr have ever made the Pro Bowl, either meaning Humphrey could become the only corner on the roster to achieve said feat.
3) Match or exceed his career interception total
Humphrey has recorded two interceptions in back-to-back seasons, but his somewhat low turnover total is misleading. No, he’s not a bonafide ballhawk, but Humphrey consistently makes disruptive plays in coverage and can hold his own on the outside against almost anyone. With that being said, however, building upon his interception numbers is a solid individual goal for Humphrey to aim for. Matching his career total (4) is more feasible than it sounds, it’s just a matter of Humphrey playing his game and letting the turnovers come to him. He’s talented enough to where he doesn’t have to force anything to try to get interceptions. If he can make breaks on the ball and maintain good position, Humphrey could certainly corral at least four interceptions, possibly more.
4) Win his matchups against the premier WR’s
The Ravens 2019-20 schedule features opponents with high-flying passing attacks, many of which also feature some of the best receivers in the game. In matchups against the Chiefs, Browns, Bengals, and Texans, Humphrey figures to spend time shadowing the likes of Tyreek Hill, Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins. Last season, Humphrey did a solid job of slowing down Antonio Brown in Baltimore’s two meetings against the Steelers. He also limited Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans and held All-Pro Julio Jones to a mere two catches for 18 receiving yards. Things won’t be any easier next season, but Humphrey should embrace the challenge of going up against the best of the best.