Saints Lil'Jordan Humphrey knows he has 'more to prove' despite strong debut

Amos Morale III
August 13, 2019 - 5:35 pm
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Rookie receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey made a splash in the New Orleans Saints' preseason opener. 

The former Texas Longhorn caught a pass from quarterback Taysom Hill, late in the 34-25 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and displayed athleticism as he made a defender miss and stiff-armed another on his way into the end zone. 

Humphrey was able to show what he could do with the ball in his hands, which he said was a big part of his game in Austin, and the play raised a few eyebrows. 

But the undrafted rookie knows it was just one play.

“It was cool,” he said. “But I got a lot more to prove so I can make this team. I just got to do a lot more.”

Saints coaches agree but said Humphrey has done some things to get their attention.

“We've seen some things that we think he does very well,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “But I would say, not to be or sound cliche, but he's a work in progress right now. He has some skill sets that we value and we like.”

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound pass catcher left Texas after his junior year where he led the Longhorns with 1,176 yards and nine touchdowns on 86 catches. He went unselected but was quickly signed by the Saints following the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Payton said he was encouraged by Humphrey’s play in the preseason matchup where he posted two catches for a team-high 42 yards. And he said after watching film he thought the showing could be a step in the right direction for the 21-year-old receiver.  

“A play like that gives you a little confidence and you build on that,” he said.

Johnson said he’s noticed an uptick in Humphrey’s performance since the play but added that he thought he'd had been making strides leading up to the preseason game.

“I thought he really took a huge step and it just showed in the game,” Johnson said. “He played well and he blocked well. He’s played more physical for us.” 

Humphrey will have to continue trending up in order to find a spot on the Saints’ roster as he faces stiff competition at receiver with Austin Carr and Keith Kirkwood, who both contributed last season, as well as other undrafted prospects like Emmanuel Butler who’s routinely impressed Saints coaches.  

“These next couple preseason games are going to be important,” Johnson said. “But you see his athleticism. If you’ve got a big, athletic guy, you are willing to work with him in one capacity or another.”

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