Creed Humphrey made himself some money with his Pro Day performance.
At least NFL Draft analyst Jim Mora Jr. thinks so.
The former Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and UCLA Bruins head coach, who currently works for ESPN and Sports Illustrated as an NFL free agency and draft commentator, said he’s always been impressed by how Humphrey preforms on tape, but his performance at OU Pro Day answered any other questions he’d have about the center.
“I think he really elevated his draft status, his draft stock,” Mora said. “I think some of the questions (about Humphrey) were the traits, the quickness, the change of direction, the things like that, the burst. And he answered all of those questions.”
Humphrey dazzled in front of NFL scouts and personnel from 31 different teams on March 12, posting numbers which would have placed him in the top five of last year’s NFL Combine at almost every drill among offensive lineman.
Mora honed in on a few specific areas that raised his eyebrows, specifically the jumps and the change of direction drills.
“The way you can evaluate burst and explosion with an offensive lineman in a kind of combine-type setting is their jumps,” Mora said.
Humphrey preformed two different kinds of jumps, a vertical jump and a broad jump, leaping 33 inches and 112 inches respectively in the two disciplines.
“This guy verticaled 33 inches at 312 pounds. That to me is impressive,” Mora said. “You’re gonna hear about these 40-inch verticals out of defensive backs and wide receivers and maybe linebackers and running backs, but when an offensive lineman at 312 pounds can push himself 33 inches in the air, that’s really impressive.”
When Humphrey’s vertical jump is paired with his broad jump, Mora said NFL scouts are going to be very pleased with Humphrey’s potential.
“Those two things just to me show his explosion and lower body strength,” Mora said.
Humphrey went on to further elevate his stock, Mora said.
“When you’re a center, your short area quickness is so important,” he said. “(Humphrey) did a 3-cone in 7.54, near the 5-10-5, which is a change of direction drill, he did that in 4.46. So you hear a lot about numbers, and as a former coach sometimes you go ‘Yeah I want to watch the tape. You know the numbers are good, but I want to watch the tape,’ and I think in this case I think it was look, we’ve seen the tape and we know he’s a heck of a player, but when he put up those kinds of numbers I think it really elevated his draft stock.
“I think it made him a guy that could potentially jump into the first round.”
After finishing the season projected as a second- or third-round pick in most mock drafts, Mora said teams have a lot more to mull over concerning Humphrey.
“I think the debates are going to start happening in draft rooms,” Mora said. “Everybody’s value is different to each particular team and so I think it’s going to depend on what people value in Creed as opposed to other centers. But without a doubt, he put himself in the debate to be the first center off the board.”
Mora did identify one possible team to look out for in the first round as well.
“I know Pittsburgh’s looking for a guy. He’s kind of in that area where they draft,” Mora said. “You know you’re getting a quality young man, you know you’re getting a tough guy, you know you’re getting a former wrestler who can grapple at the line. You know you’re getting someone that’s going to come into your locker room and enhance it rather that take away from it, so now you can justify the pick.”
The Steelers currently own pick No. 24 in the upcoming NFL Draft, and are looking to replace long-time center Maurkice Pouncey, who retired this offseason.
Another team drafting at the end of the first round who could be looking for a center is the Green Bay Packers. All-pro center Corey Linsley signed with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency, leaving a hole in the heart of the Packers offensive line as they look to chase a championship on the back stretch of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ career. Green Bay sits five picks behind the Steelers at No. 29.
Regardless of where he ends up, Humphrey certainly elevated himself and has put himself into the conversation to be a Day 1 selection in April’s NFL Draft.