2017 NFL Draft: Baltimore Ravens bolster secondary, select CB Marlon Humphrey in first round

By Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange  |  April 28, 2017 at 7:06 PM
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens found help for their secondary by taking hard-nosed Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

Humphrey provides another playmaker for a unit that has been hampered by injuries over the past three seasons. Humphrey, who left Alabama after his sophomore season, will have to fight for a starting spot with veterans Jimmy Smith, newly signed Brandon Carr and second-year player Tavon Young.

"It was an opportunity for us to continue to put some strength into our secondary," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Now, we feel like we have four really good corners with Brandon, Jimmy, Tavon, along with Marlon. (Marlon) has great size. He has really long arms and he can run. I feel like we got better in the secondary."

Humphrey has the pedigree to be a difference-maker. His father, Bobby Humphrey, also played at Alabama as a running back and was a first-round selection by the Denver Broncos in the 1989 NFL Supplemental Draft.

The younger Humphrey started all 29 games of his short career at Alabama. He had two interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2016.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh expects Humphrey to make an immediate impact. However, Harbaugh emphasized there is no pressure on the young cornerback because of the number of veterans Baltimore has in the secondary.

"We've gone after a portion of our team in the back end with our secondary with a vengeance," Harbaugh said. "We've 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're going to be darn tough to throw against."

This is a deep draft and Newsome would like to take advantage of that talent pool. As a result, there could be a potential trade on the second day.

The Ravens had several calls from teams looking to move up to No. 16, Newsome said. Baltimore also considered moving up higher in the teens, but Newsome could not find a desirable deal.

Baltimore still needs an outside linebacker after cutting ties with Elvis Dumervil following the season. Several linebackers the team drafted over the past few years have not shown they can be effective pass rushers and the heir to Terrell Suggs, who turns 35 in October.

Baltimore had targeted several wide receivers, but a bevy of talent was off the board before the No. 16 pick. Western Michigan's Corey Davis was taken at No. 5 by the Tennessee Titans. Clemson's Mike Williams was chosen by the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 7 and Washington's John Ross was selected two picks later by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens will still likely target a wide receiver in the latter rounds.

For now, Newsome and his staff were happy to grab Humphrey with the 16th pick. He was the highest player rated on their board at that spot.

"He's a great fit for us," Harbaugh said. "He will really strengthen our defense."

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