Marlon Humphrey knows all about legacies. He followed in his father’s footsteps at the University of Alabama, and now he follows in some impressive footsteps as the newest high-profile member of the Ravens defense.
Humphrey, the former Alabama cornerback and the Ravens first-round pick, said he knows all about the Ravens’ defensive tradition, including Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs and former Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley.
"That is what I thought about last night when I got picked by the Ravens," said Humphrey as he met with the media at the Ravens Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills less than 24 hours after the Ravens made him the No. 16 overall pick. "When I think of the Ravens, those are the guys I think about – those tough-nosed guys. It is definitely a blessing to be asked to be a part of that, a part of that legacy and a part of this team."
Humphrey’s pick was viewed as a surprise since the Ravens had already bolstered the secondary in the offseason with the free agent signings of safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr, but general manager Ozzie Newsome said Humphrey was "by far" the best player on the Ravens board when they were on the clock.
"He is the most physical corner – maybe the most physical defensive back – in this whole draft," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said at Humphrey’s news conference. "And this was a strong draft for defensive backs. … I could not be more excited."
Humphrey is the son of former Alabama and NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, and he said that he played running back in grade school but then moved to defense.
"Do I want to get hit, or do I want to hit somebody?" he said. "It sounds a lot better the other way."
Humphrey (6-foot, 197 pounds) is considered a strong, physical corner who can be disruptive at the line of scrimmage. He has been vulnerable on the deep ball, but the Ravens now have the ability to bookend first-round draft picks, with Humphrey on one side and Jimmy Smith on the other. But the fact that Humphrey must beat out the veteran Carr shows how the Ravens secondary has improved this offseason.
"We have gone after a portion of our team, the back end, the secondary, with a vengeance," coach John Harbaugh said after Humphrey was selected. "I think we have done a great job as an organization in terms of getting that done. We have some really good players back there, and there is going to be competition. We are going to be darn tough to throw the ball against."