It’s Ravens week and I’m here to provide yet another reason to stay behind your couch on Sunday evening. Not only will the Patriots have to deal with Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, Patrick Queen et al., they will have to deal with their superstar Corner Back – Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens have one of the league’s best defenses and with that an outstanding Corner Back room, comprised of Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith and the aforementioned Humphrey. All three players are former first round picks with 3 All-Pro selections between them. The stars are there, but Humphrey has shone brightest in 2020.
Selected by the Ravens coming out of Alabama in 2017, Humphrey has been a mainstay in the traditionally dominant Baltimore defence, following in the footsteps of former Ravens greats Chris McAllister, Deion Sanders, Brandon Carr and Domonique Foxworth. As a redshirt freshman, he earned a starting role as at Corner Back in his first game college game, going on to play two seasons with the Crimson Tide before declaring for the NFL Draft aged only 19.
Humphrey’s first two seasons were good, solid, building block years, but it was in 2019 that he kicked on to another level. Selected as a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro for his performances, Humphrey also became the Ravens no.1 Corner Back. This year, Humphrey has been on another level entirely. Going into the Patriots game, he has 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, 4 forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks. As you can see, it’s not just his pass coverage that is strong, but his versatility as a pass rusher and forcing fumbles that make him so dangerous.
With the strength of the Ravens secondary, Cam Newton will have to throw towards Humphrey at some point on Sunday. One weakness for Cam this season has been checking out of plays that aren’t there. The Ravens will know this, and will seek to disguise Humphrey in a variety of ways in order to make the Quarterback have to factor him into all his decisions at the line of scrimmage. Even if Humphrey doesn’t come on a blitz during the game, there is enough film on him going for the Quarterback that his mere presence in the slot could be used to unnerve Cam.
–Luke O’Brien is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @lukeobrienNFL