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Marlon Humphrey vs. Tony Brown: Which 5-Star CB Is Better?

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IApril 4, 2013

Marlon Humphrey vs. Tony Brown: Which 5-Star CB Is Better?

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    The 2013 class brought us two special CB prospects in Vernon Hargreaves III and Eli Apple. Both have the potential to be elite defenders at Florida and Ohio State, respectively. It's going to be hard for any 2014 prospect at the CB position to fill their shoes.

    Unless your name is Marlon Humphrey or Tony Brown.

    The pair of 2014 cornerbacks appear to be game to grade out as high as Hargreaves and Apple and are already 5-star prospects. It's always cool to evaluate DBs, especially at the CB position. Both of these two look like potential studs in college, so you should know what that means.

    Time for another 5-star vs. 5-star scouting battle, this time featuring the nation's two best CB prospects for 2014.

Size

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    Humphrey

    Immediately, when looking at Humphrey, you're drawn to his excellent size and length at 6'1" and 179 pounds. He has long arms, is tall and has great length to press and jam. The hoof test is passed with Humphrey.

     

    Brown

    Brown also has good size and stands 6'0" and about 185 pounds. His frame is very defined and basically chiseled. It's obvious that this is a strong CB due to his body definition and size.

     

    Advantage: Push

Athletic Ability and Transition Quickness

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    Humphrey

    Humphrey isn't sticky at all coming out of his pedal and has good transitional explosiveness. I love his overall athleticism, and he really can be sticky at times. Here and there, he'll allow a WR to detach, but he's excellent coming out of his pedal in off-man coverage.

     

    Brown

    This is a very good athlete who has quick feet and doesn't take many extra steps when breaking on balls. Brown has good balance, doesn't get out of whack often and stays on his feet with good agility. He's a flash in transition.

     

    Advantage: Push

Short Area Quickness/burst to Close, Recovery Speed, Carrying Speed

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    Humphrey

    Turning and running is not an issue for Humphrey. He will show some hip tightness every now and then, but nothing to be highly concerned. He recovers well and has great short area quickness to close out on pass-catchers. Humphrey has good but not great long speed to carry receivers vertically.

     

    Brown

    Brown excels in short areas, as he flashes a remarkable burst to close out plays. He probably has a little bit better long speed than Humphrey does. Brown can recover quickly and turns and runs with good looseness in his hips.

     

    Advantage: Push

Instincts, Awareness and Anticipation

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    Humphrey

    When I watch Humphrey, he's most instinctive when he's in cushion coverage. Like a Jedi who trusts the force, Humphrey trusts his instincts. He shoots routes, understands where his help is and has outstanding anticipation skills.

     

    Brown

    Brown stays on top of everything around him and plays with great smarts and awareness. He's very dependable and shows good FBI. If you get a chance to see him play, you definitely won't be watching a robot.

     

    Advantage: Push

Man Coverage

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    Humphrey

    Humphrey has the length and potential to be a great press corner, but right now, he's best off in man coverage. He has all physical tools to be a good man defender, but he separates himself from other CBs in off-man schemes where he lets his smarts, anticipation and short-area quickness take over.


    Brown

    The Texan is a physical press CB who relishes re-routing and jamming. He's got a sharp punch, is quick with his stabs and fights until the down is over. Brown isn't as good an off-man defender as Humphrey is, but he's better as a press-man defender.

     

    Advantage: Push

Zone Coverage

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    Humphrey

    Using his effective off-man skills attributes, Humphrey is a great zone defender. He shows excellent range, on-field awareness, route recognition and uses the boundary to his advantage. 


     Brown

    Many of same attributes Humphrey has in zone coverage, Brown equally possesses. He's very smart, can lay off and lurk around while still making a ton of plays. His instincts and transitional quickness allow him to get a jump on balls in zone schemes. 

     

    Advantage: Push

Run Support and Tackling

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    Humphrey

    A trait I notice with the Alabama native is that he flashes solid hand use to shed blocks on the perimeter when he reads the run. He can squeeze of the outside and support from the deep edges. He's strong and is a very good tackler on both pass-catchers and runners.

     

    Brown

    Brown has some big-hit ability in his game. He also will wrap up as a tackler and flashes undercut ability in space. He will come down and fill alleys when he's at safety. Brown doesn't show the shedding ability that Humphrey does.


    Advantage: Push

Conclusion

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    Now I know you're probably thinking "everything was a push!!" But let me explain and finally decide. 

    Both CBs grade out highly and about the same in many categories. For example, in man coverage, Humphrey is a better off-man guy while Brown is better at pressing, so it comes down to what you prefer.

    Humphrey is great in zone coverage, but Brown is not chopped liver in that department, so again it's what you prefer.

    For me, based on evaluating both guys. I like Brown a bit better because he can play both CB spots, nickelback, both safety spots and even some OLB/Rover-drop end too in a pinch.

    Brown also has a little better long speed and I personally like my CBs to be physical press guys, which is what Brown is.

     

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.

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