Caleb Farley didn't play last fall but that doesn't change the perception that he's the top cornerback prospect in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Originally a wide receiver, Farley embraced the change to cornerback and his combination of physical traits and ability to create turnovers are why he's projected by many to go in the first round. Teams will take a close look at his medical history, however, especially after recently undergoing back surgery.
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Caleb Farley Draft Profile
College: Virginia Tech
A high school quarterback who arrived at Tech as a wide receiver, Farley has made an incredible — and incredibly quick — transition to the defensive side of the ball. He’s long and fluid, and he is one of the fastest players at any position in this draft class. He’s solid in press coverage, attacking early with an effective one-hand jam. While a lot of bigger corners, especially those new to the position, struggle with footwork, he is exceptionally coordinated and smooth in his movements, with rare change-of-direction skills for a player his size. He plays with an aggressive, ball-hawking mindset. He plants his foot and explodes when it’s time to break on the ball, and he gets his hands on a lot of passes, with the ball skills to come away with the interception. He’s a willing and physical tackler who will hold his own in run support.
Farley is still finding his way in off-coverage, where he can be a little erratic (likely due to limited experience). He’ll too often hang back and allow easy catches on in-breaking routes. It will be more interesting to see how he reacts to double moves at the next level, as opponents will likely try to use his aggressiveness against him. He opted out of the 2020 season, and there could be rust to knock off early in 2021. He also underwent a microdiscectomy in late March to repair damage from an injury he sustained lifting weights. The procedure caused him to miss his Pro Day and teams and how teams perceive his recovery could impact his draft stock.
There’s a sense that Farley is just scratching the surface considering his limited experience on the defensive side of the ball, but there aren’t many corners this size who move this well. The rare physical traits and his ability to cause turnovers give him All-Pro upside, assuming he receives a clean bill of health.
Final Grade: 1st round
(Top photo courtesy of hokiesports.com)