The New Orleans Saints signed Lil’Jordan Humphrey as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas. While he’s not expected to start necessarily out of the gate, Lil’Jordan enters an interesting wide receiving group where there are clear snaps to be had.
Cody Daniel of SB Nation’s page for the University of Texas, Burnt Orange Nation, took some quick time to answer a few questions for Saints to get to know one of their newest additions on offense.
Lil’Jordan went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. Did you expect to see him hear his name called, or was this the likely outcome from the beginning?
I think most expected Humphrey to hear is name called, likely towards the second half of Day 3, but after he posted a pair of 4.7 4 times, his draft stock slipped pretty substantially so going undrafted wasn’t too surprising. But that said, even with the poor testing times, his productivity had most that cover UT expecting him to go during Day 3.
What should be the Saints biggest concern with Li’Jordan: the off-the-field issues or his poor combine performance?
Definitely his poor combine performance. There’s been chatter that Humphrey was just ready to be done with the collegiate experience as a whole, so off-the-field stuff there isn’t too surprising. But unlike at Texas, I’m not sure Humphrey can thrive in the slot in the NFL, so if his speed concerns carry over and he can’t create separation, he’ll have a hard time finding the field.
Lil’Jordan’s route tree seems to be limited. Was this by design of the Texas offense, or was it out of necessity based on Lil’Jordan’s limited skillset?
A bit of both. He certainly isn’t one you would regard as an elite route runner, but I think Texas’ method with Humphrey was simplify what he was required to do to maximize his matchups. As is, he was typically quicker and faster than most linebackers and bigger and more physical than DBs, so Texas relied upon that. Now in the NFL, I doubt he’ll be a guy you want running complex routes, but rather, as Texas did, try to find mismatches and let him utilize his size, body control, etc. to win jump balls.
What are Lil’Jordans biggest strengths and weaknesses as far as you could tell?
As far strengths are concerned, Humphrey’s possession target who’s excellent at high-pointing the ball and winning one-on-one battles. When passes aren’t exactly on target, he displays exceptional body control and an ability to contort his body to put himself in position to make the catch. He can flash much of the same prior to the pass, as well, recognizing soft spots in coverage and understanding how to utilize his size to shield defenders, often swinging the odds of a 50-50 ball in his favor. Beyond that, he has a high school history as a running back so he’s pretty impressive after the catch, especially for a guy his size at 6’4, 215.
On the other hand, you’ve already noted it: The speed, or the lack thereof, is an obvious issue and could very well be what makes or breaks his career, and the fact that he isn’t regarded as a great route runner doesn’t help mask that weakness, either. Simply put, Humphrey could have issues getting open.
What is Lil’Jordan’s ceiling on the Saints?
Long-term is a bit difficult to tell because rosters obviously change, which the Saints should experience before too long with Drew Brees. But for now, Humphrey comes into a fairly ideal situation with an elite quarterback, play-caller, and weapons around him, which could open plenty of opportunities for him. Sure, his testing was poor, but Humphrey is the kind of guy who just makes plays when the pads are on and I think Saints fans will come to recognize that. I’m not sure that he’ll ever become a 1,000 yard receiver, but as long as he’s in a situation as ideal as the one he’s in with New Orleans, I think he’s a guy who could contribute 35-50 receptions a year as a complementary piece to primary options like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.
Thank-you so much for your time and insight, Cody!
Saints fans, make sure you check out Cody and the rest of the hard-working guys’ work over at Burnt Orange Nation. You can also follow their work on Twitter @BON_SBNation and Cody @CodyDanielSBN. As always, you always follow me on Twitter @dunnellz.
What do you think about the Saints UDFA? Do you think Lil’Jordan can take the WR3 job away from Cameron Meredith and Keith Kirkwood? Tell us in the comments. Send me presents.