The Arizona Cardinals have been trying to shore up their offensive line since reaching the Super Bowl with Kurt Warner, and that process seems to have gotten a major push by selecting D.J. Humphries from Florida with their first round pick. This selection is great on several accounts. The Cardinals need someone to protect their veteran quarterback, Carson Palmer, as when he is in the lineup, they win. When he is out, the do more than struggle. Humphries has experience at a big name school in Florida and knows what it takes to protect a big name quarterback. He should fit in well with Bruce Arians discipline and the direction that the team is headed in the desert.
Humphries had a good performance at the combine, turning in a very respectable 5.12 sec 40-yard dash, in addition to a 31.0 inch vertical jump and 104.0 inch broad jump. He rounded these numbers out with a 7.87 second 3-cone drill and a 4.64 second 20-yard shuttle. At 6 foot 5 inches and 307 pounds, Humphries is a physically imposing offensive tackle that should be able to come an provide solid protection on the left side of the line.
A major strength for Humphries lies in his toughness and his foot IQ. He has flexible hips and knees, giving him great leverage and an uncanny ability to get low and block low. He is able to stand his ground and his is nearly 34 inch arm length to wall defenders off. He is quick and can protect equally well on both running and passing plays.
If he has a weakness, it is that he often lunges too much, giving up much needed ground to the defense. He tends to fall off balance in a running game, particularly when he encounters moving targets, and he does tend to get off footed and complacent when entering physical contact. Moving into the pros, he will need to learn to drive his feet all the way through contact. He also needs to learn better where to place his hands, particularly when entering pass protection. These are areas, however, that the offensive line coaches at Arizona will likely be working with Humphries on in training camp.
All in all, D.J. Humphries was a top tackle in high school and college, primarily owing to his superior athletic skills for his position, and his tendency to get angry on the field and intimidating defensive players. Moving into the pros, however, he will need to get more sure footed and lean down his body in order to compete at the NFL level. If he can do this, the Cardinals should be well pleased with their first round selection.
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