Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that Humphrey is becoming one of the top cornerbacks in the league.
“I don’t want to put that on him and put pressure on him, but I think he’d appreciate it,” Harbaugh said. “I think he understands it, it’s his goal, and when he’s in there, we’re complete in the secondary, and he makes us pretty strong back there. The expectations are high. Our secondary has high, high standards and expectations for how we play. We expect to play at the highest level back there, and having that piece is a big part of it.”
But free safety Eric Weddle pumped the brakes on Harbaugh’s comment that Humphrey is moving closer to joining a group that includes the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey, the Los Angeles Rams’ Marcus Peters and the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson.
“He just needs to be more consistent,” Weddle said Wednesday morning of Humphrey. “I think the sky’s the limit for him. He just needs to focus on every play. He has too many lapses in a game, and he knows it. I wouldn’t put him up there yet. He needs to be out there and play at a high level for the entire game, for a whole season. I love him. I think he can get there. But I wouldn’t anoint him yet.”
Humphrey, 22, validated the organization’s decision to spend last year’s first-round pick on him, finishing with 34 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups. This season, he has 23 tackles and three breakups, but is searching for his first interception.
Humphrey, who made three tackles in the team’s 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 4 after missing back-to-back games because of a thigh injury, acknowledged that he is not in that top echelon yet.
“I know I’ve got a lot to work to do to get to the top with those guys,” he said. “But it feels good when your coach says something like that. It gives you confidence.”
Fellow cornerback Jimmy Smith said he has noticed an uptick in Humphrey’s on-field confidence.
“He’s definitely making strides,” Smith said. “He played really well last year. So he’s taking that step forward this year. The more plays, the more games, the more experience he gets, the better he’ll become.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker contributed to this article.