Will Caleb Farley Pay Off in 2021?
On Monday, Caleb Farley was activated off the Non-football injury list (NFI) and passed his physical. He practiced with the Titans for the first time and his recovery from his numerous injuries is looking promising.
When the Titans drafted Caleb Farley 22nd overall in the 2021 draft, there were mixed reactions.
One side believed that the pick was far too risky due to Farley's extensive injury history. The other side believed that it was well worth the risk because Farley, at 6'2 197lbs, is a rare, extremely athletic talent.
Farley sat out of the 2020 College Football season due to Covid concerns. He aimed to show his talent through a pro-day but that was cancelled due to his injuries.
His most recent injury, which caused many teams to pass on him and raised alarm among many of the league's team doctors, was a herniated L5 disc and bulged S1 suffered while deadlifting. He had surgery on the L5 after the 2019 season and surgery on the S1 in March after it did not properly heal on its own as he had hoped. He also had a non-contact ACL tear in 2017.
“When the teams look at the imaging and get the real information, I don’t think it will be an issue. I accepted my draft invite, so I’ll be in Cleveland. If a team wants the best corner in the draft, they’ll come find me.” said Farley heading into draft day.
Following the draft, GM Jon Robinson was bombarded by questions regarding Farley's injuries and he confirmed that the Titans team doctors had done a lot of work, including talking to Virginia Tech medical staff and leading NFL back doctors.
A projected top 10 pick prior to his back surgery, Caleb Farley is a highly acclaimed talent. Farley brings many physical skills and strives in man coverage. Describing Farley, Robinson said that "there is a certain level of athleticism, smoothness, and a lot of fluidity"
Farley is a "handsy" corner who loves to play physically. Even if pressing does not go well, his coverage skills are excellent and he as the speed to catch up to anyone. He reminds me of a bigger, more physical version of Adoree Jackson and believe it or not, could be even faster. If it were not for the injuries, many believed that Farley was worthy of a top 10 pick and was the best cornerback in the draft by a considerable margin.
In college, Farley recorded 6 interceptions, 19 passes deflected (led ACC in 2019) and 43 solo tackles in his 23 games at Virginia Tech. His High School career was full of accolades as he led his district in rushing, tied the record in single season touchdowns with 58, and was a second team all-state Quarterback.
The Titans WR opponents in 2021 include DeAndre Hopkins, D.K. Metcalf, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, Brandon Aiyuk, and Chase Claypool, some of the fastest and most physically gifted receivers in the league (thankfully the Titans have two of the best, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones).
If healthy, Farley will be crucial in these matchups. The Titans added veteran CB Janoris Jenkins in free agency, who I am a big fan of, and have high expectations for CB Kristian Fulton who they selected in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft. Regardless, the Titans secondary looks drastically different than last season and Farley could make a huge impact.
Farley certainly has the skill set to be the team's top corner this season and could help greatly when the team must cover the best and most athletic receivers in the NFL.
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