Will the Lions look at the 10-year veteran from Buffalo to improve their linebacker group?
The Lions currently have two outside linebackers signed for the 2018 season (Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa) and both are on the books for less than $710,000. The Lions could look to free agency to see if they can find any veteran help at the linebacker position. Head coach Matt Patricia said in his introductory press conference, “The scheme is not something that’s not necessarily locked into exactly has to be this…” which allows us to have a feeling that they will run variations of a 3-4 and 4-3. This will allow for them to look at linebackers who are versatile in their traits and can essentially play both, if needed. A veteran linebacker from North Dakota State and recently with the Buffalo Bills, Ramon Humber, could be of interest to Patricia and he would already have some familiarity as he played in the AFC East the past two seasons.
I have watched five of Humber’s games from the 2017 season and have prepared an in-depth report that will give you an idea if the Lions should bring him in for a workout or not.
Name: Ramon Humber
Position: 4-3 Sam OLB
DOB: 08-10-1987 (30 years old)
College: North Dakota State
Drafted: 2009 – UDFA – Indianapolis Colts
Former Team: Buffalo Bills
Games Played: 121
Games Started: 28
2017- Broken Thumb (Weeks 5-8 – OUT, 9)
2016- No Injuries
2015- Thigh (Week 7), Hamstring (Weeks 9-11 – OUT, 12)
2014- Ankle (Weeks 7 – OUT, 8)
2013- Calf (Week 6)
2012- Illness (Week 13)
2011- Knee (Week 16)
2010- Illness (Week 3), Fractured Hand (Weeks 4-17 – OUT, IR)
2009- Illness (Week 8), Calf (Weeks 12-13)
2017 – Played in 13 games while starting 9 (most in career). 1 PD, 1 FF, 1 sack, and 83 tackles (most in career).
Career Stats- 28 career starts, 5 PDs, 2 FF, 4.5 sacks, and 276 tackles.
Weight: 224 lbs.
40-yard dash: N/A *
10-yard split: N/A *
Arm Length: N/A *
Hand Size: N/A *
Vertical: N/A *
3 Cone: N/A *
Short Shuttle: N/A *
Broad Jump: N/A *
Bench Press: 20 reps
*- Numbers are not available because he was not invited to combine and there are no numbers from his pro day at North Dakota State.
2017- vs NYJ 09/10, @ CAR 09/17, vs DEN 09/24, vs NO 11/12, @ LAC 11/19
Best: Run at Point of Attack vs TE, Man Coverage vs TE
Worst: Athletic Ability, Mental Processing, Competitive Toughness, Run at Point of Attack vs OL, Outside Run, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage vs RB, Ball Skills, Tackling, Blitzing
Athletic Ability: 3/7
Mental Processing: 3/7
Competitive Toughness: 3/7
Play Speed: 3/7
Play Strength: 3/7
Run at Point of Attack: 2/7
Outside Run: 3/7
Zone Coverage: 3/7
Man Coverage: 1/7
Ball Skills: 3/7
Humber is a tenth-year player who started nine games while playing 13 for the Buffalo Bills in 2017. Under defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, he had his best year as a pro as the Bills ran a 4-3 with many under fronts which allowed him to be matched up against tight ends often in the running and passing game. He has marginal size as his height (5’11) and weight (224) are below the 25th percentile. Humber displays adequate athletic ability as he has below average quickness, acceleration, agility and marginal balance.
He has a solid ability to play the run at the point of attack against tight ends as he is able to effectively leverage himself, neutralize the block and put himself in a position to make plays. Humber demonstrates solid play strength by winning his 1 v 1 reps against tight ends in these situations. He is solid when matched up against tight ends in man coverage as he makes it difficult for quarterbacks and is able to mirror slants, go routes, outs, and curls by using his change of direction ability, play speed, and mental processing to understand routes, combinations, and his leverage.
Humber is marginal against the run at the point of attack, especially against offensive linemen, due to adequate mental processing to key and diagnose pre and post-snap and his marginal ability to click and close. He has minimal ability to leverage against both gap and inside zone running plays as he displays marginal ability to take on blocks from offensive linemen and shed them effectively. Humber also displays an adequate ability to tackle the ball carrier.
He is below average against outside run due to adequate mental processing to key and diagnose, below average click and close, and does not effectively leverage against gap and outside zone. Humber displays marginal ability to take on blocks from offensive linemen as he fails to get better hand placement, gets overpowered, and fails to defeat cut blocks. He takes adequate angles from the backside and has a below average ability to tackle ball carriers as he uses marginal form and strength. Humber displays adequate competitive toughness and play strength against the run as he is not consistently physical against offensive linemen, he doesn’t compete at a high level every snap, loses his 1 v 1 reps as offensive linemen overpower him with better hand placement, and he mentally makes mistakes with missed tackles on running backs.
Humber is adequate in zone coverage as he displays below average mental processing to understand routes, concepts, and reading the quarterback pre and post-snap. He displays adequate drops into coverage as he sometimes will not drop or won’t look for a threat to drop to. Humber is below average in pattern matching as he frequently gets beat by posts, drags, and digs and is below average as a hook/curl defender as he needs to continue to sink and get depth to find work. He displays an adequate ability to leverage himself to take away threats to the QB and he displays a marginal change of direction upon throw. Humber is poor in man coverage against running backs as he displays minimal mental processing to understand routes, down & distance, and how to leverage himself pre and post-snap. He has poor ability to mirror as he gets beat in every area on the field by angles, go routes, wheel routes, whip routes, outs, and curls. He has a marginal change of direction when the ball is thrown.
He has adequate ball skills as he has a below average ability to locate, track, and disrupt to get a pass breakup or interception. Humber is marginal at the catch point as he will allow all types of threats to easily catch over him and is adequate in his efforts to strip the ball after a catch. He displays marginal blitzing ability as he has adequate timing and speed while demonstrating marginal ability to avoid, shed, and finish on the quarterback to get him off his spot, get a hurry, or get a sack. Humber has an adequate tackling ability as he displays below average angles, marginal form by going too high on running backs/tight ends, adequate technique as he does not wrap up effectively, and marginal strength to get the ball carrier down on his own.
Overall, Humber is an emergency veteran 4-3 “sam” outside linebacker who is solid against the run at the point of attack against tight ends and in man coverage against tight ends. His adequate ability to play zone coverage, poor man coverage against running backs, adequate tackling, and is marginal in shedding blocks against offensive linemen shows why he cannot be a backup and why he should only be called upon if injuries occur in the two-deep.
Humber’s 2017 contract was only $695,000 and that is very cheap for an emergency veteran, but the Lions would be better off looking in the draft or at other available free agent linebackers who could more effectively help their team.