As Head Coach John Harbaugh said Thursday night, first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey “has all the tools you want in a top corner.”
Speed is one of the major tools, and it’s in Humphrey’s DNA.
Humphrey’s father, Bobby, was a star running back at Alabama and first-round supplemental pick of the Denver Broncos in 1989.
Humphrey’s mother, Barbara, still holds the school record in the 400-meter dash at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She coached her son in middle school, and he eventually became a track star himself.
The summer before his senior year at Hoover High School in Alabama, Humphrey was just 0.12 seconds shy of becoming the world’s best 110-meter hurdler among 17-year-olds and younger. He posted a time of 13.24 seconds at the 2013 IAFF World U18 Championships in Ukraine, which in pain “with every step.”
Humphrey ran for Alabama’s track team in college, where he won the 110 meter hurdles (13.67) and the 400 meter hurdles (50.75) at the 2013 World Youth Track & Field Championships, then anchored the Tide’s 4×400-meter relay team as a true freshman.
Ultimately, football took over, and Humphrey translated his athleticism to another field.
But just in case anyone forgot, Humphrey put his physical tools on display during the pre-draft process when he visited ESPN’s Sports Science. He had already run the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds at the NFL Combine, but this was another level.
When Humphrey went to the Sports Science lab, his running form was similar to a world-class sprinter. He had 20 degrees more hip flexion than a typical defensive back.
Humphrey posted a time of 2.67 seconds in the 20-yard sprint, tied with Washington wide receiver John Ross and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook as the fastest time among this year’s Sports Science participants at the NFL combine.
It’s a good thing considering Humphrey will be covering Ross after he was drafted No. 9 overall by the rival Cincinnati Bengals.
— ESPN Sport Science (@Sport_science) April 26, 2017