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NFL Draft Day: Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey will play 'wherever,' but his past and future are at center

Leadership, a high football IQ, experience and athletic ability all put the former Sooner captain on a path to NFL greatness

Wherever and whenever Creed Humphrey gets picked in this weekend’s NFL Draft, he’s more than ready to finally get to work.

After months of training for his pro day and meeting with teams and refining the nuances of his craft, Humphrey is just ready for some football.

Pro football.

Humphrey said last month the training he did at Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney, TX, prepared him for a strong pro day performance, but took him far beyond 40 times and cone drills to get him even more ready for playing in the NFL.

“We were working combine drills and stuff,” Humphrey said, “but Duke Manyweather is the O-Line coach down there that trains guys with the offensive line, so I still got to get a ton of technique work with him and getting football knowledge, things like that. So that’s the reason I chose that place. I could continue getting better at technique in football. I could expand my football knowledge and my football IQ and things like that. I was really happy with the decision I made.”

Humphrey said his interviews with NFL teams were productive because it allowed him the chance to talk about more than football. He got to describe other elements of his game that he thinks set him apart from other prospects at his position.

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“I’d say leadership qualities,” Humphrey said. “I’ve been a two-time captain here at OU and that’s something voted on by the players. So it’s something the players really saw in me and I’m really thankful for them doing that.

“Leadership qualities, and really just my football knowledge and understanding defensive philosophies and what teams want to do in certain situations. What teams want to do in different formations, different things like that. I’d say that’s what really separates me from a lot of people in this draft.”

Humphrey was a three-year starter at center for the Sooners, but he can do more than snap, he said.

“I tell every team I’m not just a center, I want to be on the field wherever I can be,” Humphrey said. “I see myself as a versatile guy. I can play any of the three interior positions. For sure I’m comfortable with all of those.

“I see myself as a center but wherever I need to play at. I’m a team-oriented guy. Whatever the team needs me at I’m going to be comfortable playing. You can put me at punter. I don’t care. I’ll play wherever I need to play to help the team.”

And yet, Humphrey isn’t naive about what a team will ask of him after they draft him. He’s a center, and he’s been building and preparing for that seemingly all his life. Look no further than the NFL stars he’s spent time studying: three all-time great centers who have combined for 21 Pro Bowls appearances and eight first-team All-Pro honors.

“Any offseason, I do a ton of NFL study,” Humphrey said. “The three guys that I always looked at throughout my OU career that I like to watch and steal things from them is Travis Frederick from the Cowboys, Maurkice Pouncey from the Steelers and Nick Mangold from the Jets. Those are the three guys I watch the most. All three of them tough, physical players, good leaders for their team, and that’s kind of the guys I’m drawn to the most.”