Summary: Last December, if you told a die-hard Gators fan that D.J. Humphries would be a first-round pick after his junior year, they would be surprised because Humphries only played up to that draft grade in small stretches. During his three years at Florida, typically he was dealing with some sort of injuries. Humphries came to Florida as one of the top recruits in the nation, but he never was a difference-maker for the Gators.
Humphries was a backup as a freshman in 2012 and rotated into the game occasionally behind senior Xavier Nixon. With Nixon off to NFL practice squads, Humphries took over as the starting left tackle as a sophomore, but he missed a chunk of the season with a sprained MCL. Humphries also missed some a few key games in 2014, like the Alabama contest, with an ankle injury. After returning to the field, Humphries played well down the stretch, including a tough battle against the Missouri edge rushers.
Humphries has the physical skill set to be a starting left tackle in the NFL, and some feel that his raw talent is such that he could be a franchise left tackle. Humphries is very quick and athletic to negate speed rushers around the edge. He can get depth to take away the corner and is quick to adjust to inside moves. Humphries attacks defenders and gets his hands on them quickly. His hand placement does need to improve, and his technique can be somewhat raw. He isn't entering the NFL with a lot of experience or development.
While Humphries played a lot of his college career in the 280s and 290s, he has functional strength to move defenders in the ground game. Florida had success running behind Humphries in 2014, and he can move defensive ends out of their gap with the quickness to fire to the second level and hit blocks on linebackers. Humphries' speed and athleticism would make him a great fit in a zone-blocking scheme.
Humphries added weight and is topping 300 pounds, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it on. Considering he's entering the NFL after only three years at Florida, his youth and upside mean he will probably be able to maintain that weight or maybe get bigger in a NFL strength and conditioning program.
Sources with one NFL team have said they have a first-round grade on Humphries and will let the medical staff bump him down if they deem it warranted. Other say they have a high second-round grade on Humphries.
With the medical evaluation playing into it, there could be a big range for Humphries on draft night. He could go as high as the middle of the first-round, late in the first-round or an early second-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Humphries' game is similar to Ferguson. Both are cat quick for left tackles with the athleticism to handle speed rushers. They aren't overpowering in the ground game, but they have functional strength to get movement at the point of attack. If Humphries stays healthy, I think he could be a tackle similar to Ferguson in the NFL.
NFL Matches: Washington, New York Giants, Minnesota, St. Louis, Cleveland, Miami, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Oakland
There are a lot for teams that could target Humphries in the first or second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. If he makes it to the Redskins' second-round pick, he could be an upgrade for their offensive line. Humphries would be a target for Washington's second-round pick unless the organization trades down from the fifth pick.
The Giants could make sense as a team to potentially draft the former Gators. New York has to improve its offensive line in front of Eli Manning, and Humphries could compete quickly for the Giants.
The Rams seem like a very logical landing spot for Humphries. St. Louis must keep Nick Foles healthy to have any shot at making a run at the playoffs in the rugged NFC West. Joe Barksdale could be upgraded at right tackle, and Davin Joseph isn't a long-term starter at right guard. If the Rams trade down, Humphries looks like a fit for them, and he could form a nice bookend with Greg Robinson.
Cleveland could use help at right tackle and right guard, so Humphries would make a lot of sense for the Browns if he's available at their second first-round pick. In time, Humphries could be the heir apparent to Joe Thomas. Cleveland is bringing Humphries in for a pre-draft visit
The Dolphins made a big improvement in their offensive line last year, but they still have room to get better up front. Humphries could be an option for Miami.
Kansas City is a good fit. The Chiefs need a lot of help on their offensive line, and Humphries could start right away for them. He could be their left tackle with Eric Fisher on the right side.
In the 20s, Humphries could make sense for the Bengals as the heir apparent to Andrew Whitworth. The Panthers need a tackle upgrade and a true replacement for Jordan Gross. Humphries athleticism would fit with Dave Gettlemen's M.O. in the first round.
Another team to keep an eye on in regards to Humphries is Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers could seek to trade back into the first round and land Humphries, or they could take him at No. 34, if he makes it to their pick there. Tampa Bay needs a long-term left tackle, and Humphries could play immediately on the team's weak offensive line.
Also early in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Raiders could make sense for Humphries as the future replacement for Donald Penn.