There’s not a lot of quality options at the center position in free agency, so the Falcons will likely look to next month’s NFL draft to fill the need.
In last year’s NFL draft, the Falcons drafted top center, Matthew Hennessey, out of Temple in the third-round. They could look to do the same thing in this year’s draft too by selecting Oklahoma Sooners’ center, Creed Humphrey. Humphrey is considered the best center to come out of this year’s draft class and is likely to go late in the first round or in the second round.
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Humphrey’s Athleticism is Compared to Frankenstein
Humphrey finished his pro day two weeks ago and anyone watching was shocked by the numbers he posted.
He had a vertical jump of 33 inches, a broad jump of 112 inches, and repped 225 pounds 29 times on the bench press. In speed drills, Humphrey’s three-cone drill was clocked at 7.54 seconds and he posted a time of 4.46 seconds in the 5-10-5 shuttle and 5.09 seconds for the 40-yard dash.
There was not a 2021 NFL draft combine so to compare, Humphrey would have finished in the top five of 2020’s combine.
Even Humphrey’s teammates were in awe of his performance, calling him a “freak.”
“If you look at Creed, he can do stuff like a skill guy but he’s a 300-pound center,” defensive end Ronnie Perkins told Jason Butt of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution. “But he’s probably more flexible than more skill guys. Watching him is like watching Frankenstein. He’s a freak really.”
Heck, even Humphrey was surprised with the numbers he posted.
“At Oklahoma, I’m not asked to do a ton athletically. We’re a heavy gap scheme team,” Humphrey said. “I’m blocking back a ton. It was different for me to be able to go out there to show my athleticism. I was pretty happy with how I did. There were a couple of things I could’ve done better but I was pretty happy overall.”
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Humphrey’s Sooner Career
Humphrey locked up the starting job in 2018 and ultimately would help pave the way for Heisman winner quarterback, Kyler Murray.
Also during that season, Humphrey earned a spot as the second-team All-Big 12 team and was named to the freshman All-American team. Humphrey’s success continued in 2019 where was named one of the three finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best center.
In Humphrey’s final season as a Sonner, he was first-team All Big-12 and was named a third-team All-American. For the second year in a row, Humphrey did not allow a single sack.
The Falcons, who let Matt Ryan get sacked a season-high 55 times last year, could use a guy like Humphrey in the rotation with Hennessey.
One of his teammates, offensive tackle Adrian Ealy, was not as surprised as everyone else was to see Humphrey post standout numbers during the Sooners’ Pro Day, and knows how lucky the next team to get him will be.
“People don’t understand how explosive he is,” Ealy said. “The numbers he put up are really unbelievable for not just an offensive lineman but for his position (at center). Of course, I got a chance to show my athleticism getting out on some screens and whatnot. Creed didn’t get that chance. At the end of the day I knew coming in that Creed was going to put up some numbers. And he didn’t put up the numbers he really wanted to. The stuff he was mad about he didn’t get are still extreme numbers. He’s so explosive and athletic. Whatever team gets him is going to get a great one.”