Next up in the Unpacking a Future Packers countdown is Creed Humphrey. The Oklahoma center checks in at number 48 in the countdown.
It certainly looks like the Green Bay Packers will have a new starting center when the 2021 NFL season begins. By all accounts, Corey Linsley will not be snapping footballs to quarterback Aaron Rodgers anymore. Do the Packers already have his replacement on the roster?
Will Matt LaFleur and company opt to move Elgton Jenkins to center? Will they have Lucas Patrick slide to center? Could it be Jake Hanson? Or will Brian Gutekunst select his replacement in the upcoming draft? It certainly looks like the Green Bay Packers will have a new starting center when the 2021 NFL season begins. By all accounts, Corey Linsley will not be snapping footballs to quarterback Aaron Rodgers anymore. Do the Packers already have his replacement on the roster?
If Gutekunst is to draft Linsley’s replacement he’ll have a few quality centers to choose from. Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey is one of those centers that could be on Gutekunst’s radar during day two of the NFL Draft.
Humphrey was a 37 game starter for the Sooners. This past season Humphrey was named Big-12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, after earning second-team All-Big-12 the previous two seasons.
“I saw a guy who lived up to his billing as a player and evolved into a natural leader,” Seth Oliveras, a contributor for Crimsonandcreammachine.com said. “From the moment he took over as OU’s starting center, he simply looked like he belonged. He’s been surrounded by NFL-caliber talent throughout his collegiate career (five drafted OL), but in that time he’s arguably been Oklahoma’s most consistent lineman each of the last three seasons.”
Humphrey is stout at the point of attack and holds his own against power. He has a well-constructed frame and does a great job of stone-walling defenders.
“Funnily enough, one of Humphrey’s greatest strengths is actually his strength,” Oliveras said. “In fact, he was one of the strongest players on the team as a freshman. On the field, I’d say his football intelligence is up there with the best this draft class has to offer (3x Academic All-Big 12 selection). Lincoln Riley’s offensive scheme relies heavily on the offensive line’s execution, and for years Humphrey showed that he is capable of uniting his fellow linemen into a top-flight unit.
As a former wrestler, Humphrey has a great understanding of leverage. He does an outstanding of getting under the pads. He has strong, quick hands and is able to deliver striking blows to stun defensive lineman.
According to Pro Football Focus, Humphrey gave up zero sacks during his three years as a starter. He has a high football IQ and handles whatever is thrown in front of him.
“In pass protection, Humphrey uses his knowledge of leverage (wrestled in his youth) to his advantage,” Oliveras said. “I don’t recall him ever being beaten by a bull rush, and he was rarely called for holding. Truthfully, he’s not the most nimble guy on his feet, but I’d consider that more of a nitpick than anything else considering he plays center and not tackle.”
Humphrey isn’t an outstanding athlete, but he’s comfortable climbing to the second level. Humphrey has excellent footwork and shows good lateral movement in the run game. He locates his targets with excellent awareness.
“As a run blocker, he’s powerful,” Oliveras said. “I can’t count how many quarterback sneaks that OU successfully converted thanks to Humphrey leading the way. He’s also extremely familiar with a multitude of running game concepts, specifically the guard-tackle counter. As a center, no matter which side the GTC is going, he’s tasked with creating and sealing a new edge. Judging by the results, I’d say he’s done a fine job at it.”
Fit with the Packers
Humphrey was the anchor of Oklahoma’s line the past three seasons and was one of the best centers in college football. He’s battle-tested and could be a plug-and-play starter for the Packers as they ultimately look for Linsley’s replacement.
“I’d strongly consider drafting Creed Humphrey for a number of reasons,” Oliveras said. “He’s legitimately one of the smartest linemen in the class, he’s as consistent as they come, and he’s been coached by Bill Bedenbaugh, who is arguably the top O-line coach in college football in terms of developing players and sending his guys to the league.”
Gutekunst is two years removed from drafting Jenkins in the second round. Fast forward two years and the Packers could target Humphrey on day two of the draft to give them another stud upfront.