Chris Maurice takes a look at first round draft pick D.J. Humphries as he wins over the Arizona Cardinals fan base with his inviting personality
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; D.J. Humphries (Florida) is greeted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number twenty-four overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
(C+P) — The Arizona Cardinals selected Florida Gators offensive tackle DJ Humphries with the 24th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and the Cards fan base has already grown fond of the big man.
At 6’5, 300 pounds, Humphries is a force to be reckoned with on the field; but off the field has a completely different persona. A soft speaker with quick wits and an overall fun nature combined with his tremendous stature, Humphries often draws comparisons to an all-time fan favorite Shaquille O’Neal.
“[It wouldn’t be] the first time I’ve heard that,” said Humphries. “I got the Shaq comparison when I was in high school. But I don’t think my voice is as deep as his.”
Humphries then lowered his voice into his best Shaq impression—“How’s it going, Cards Nation? I’m going to be the Big Little Cactus.”
It didn’t take long for the big man who was considered a questionable selection at first to win over the fans in Arizona with his personality, much like he did with the Gators. However, at the end of the day that can only get you so far in the NFL. Talk is cheap, and fans in Phoenix will want to see some production from the big man as well.
Humphries is a fantastic athlete who can play tackle or guard for the Cards. He’s quick of the snap, and he can improve the run game starting Week 1. He showed some inconsistencies during his time at Florida, but he bulked up and worked on his fundamentals over the offseason leading up to the draft. Clearly he did enough to warrant a first round selection.
The Cardinals haven’t exactly had much luck drafting linemen in the first round over the past 10 seasons—you may remember (well, actually probably not) Levi Brown, who the Cards selected before Adrian Peterson. Or maybe Jonathan Cooper, the team’s seventh overall pick back in 2013.
Recent failures only put more pressure on the big guy to succeed. As if that wasn’t enough, quarterback Carson Palmer will be coming off yet another ACL tear; so bad protection could mean another early finish to the season for the Birds again in 2015.
The Cardinals were within striking distance of the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West division title last season, and with Palmer back under center they should have no problem making a run for it again. With Humphries on the line, Cardinals fans are hoping to keep Palmer on his feet and off IR.