Marlon Humphrey was in the middle of a fan picture session Saturday at Ravens Draft Fest when he thought he heard a familiar name in the background.
He pulled up his phone as quickly as possible to confirm the news: The Ravens had just drafted his former teammate, Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett. Humphrey shot Averett a text immediately, but joked that he didn’t hear anything back for a while.
“I had to double text him,” Humphrey said with a laugh. “I forgot how crazy your phone is on draft weekend.”
Averett and Humphrey were teammates for three years in Tuscaloosa.
The two cornerbacks were close in college, as they shared lockers next to each other and both started during Humphrey’s final season. They won a National Championship together as young players in 2015, and Averett doubled up with another ring last fall.
Humphrey has seen Averett can lock down receivers first hand, as Alabama had the NCAA’s third-ranked defense in 2016 (allowing 276.3 yards per game) when the duo started at corner.
“It was always good to know a quarterback wasn’t going to be able to pick on either side. We had somebody on both sides who could cover,” Humphrey said.
“When we played my last year there, we’d come to the sideline and communicate like, ‘How are they?’ And we both were like, ‘We can handle them.’ When our defensive coordinator would come to us and ask if we could cover them, we always could.”
When the Ravens made the call to Averett, they quickly brought up his old running mate.
“That’s what they were teasing me about once they drafted me – talking about Marlon – like, ‘Are you still faster than him?’ and stuff like that,” Averett said. “It’s just going to be like old times.”
The fact that Averett fell to the fourth round was a bit surprising, and he could turn out to be a steal with pick No. 118. Cornerbacks who start for two years on the best college team in the country typically come off the board before the middle rounds
At 5-foot-11, 183 pounds, he’s slightly undersized. But that size didn’t limit him in college, and he showed his blazing speed at the NFL Scouting Combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds.
Averett will compete for a spot in a crowded secondary, and he could turn out to be a bargain if he and Humphrey can replicate what they did in their college days.
“He’s definitely fired up. I’m excited,” Humphrey said. “He always competes in the big games. And he’s just a guy that’s going to work hard every day and give it everything he has.”