Continuing the Green Bay Packers cornerback draft profiles with Caleb Farley
Caleb Farley – CB, Virginia Tech – 6’2”, 197 lbs
Caleb Farley came into his collegiate career as a high school quarterback and was brought into Virginia Tech to be a wide receiver. Farley ended up tearing his ACL in 2017 and that injury ended up leading to his position change to cornerback at Virginia Tech.
After playing the cornerback position for only 2 years and missing the final 2 games of his 2019 season, Farley decided to opt out of 2020 to focus on his health and the draft. With that he ended up posting statistically; 23 career games, 56 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 6 interceptions (1 for a touchdown), and 19 pass deflections.
It’s also notable that Farley just decided to miss the pro day in order to have a second surgery on his back in order to get 100% healthy for the NFL. There is no set timetable on when he will be ready to play so if a team like the Green Bay Packers were to draft him, they would have to be sure to have a backup plan until Farley is ready to play.
Farley’s biggest positives is that he has tremendous ball skills. Whether it’s getting a hand in on a comeback route or turning his head and dominating opposing wide receivers in 50/50 balls, Farley puts himself in position to see the ball and make a play on it. Spending time as a wide receiver really helped this part of his game because he got to study what it takes for an offensive player to win on a ball, but also what it takes for a defender to ruin all of those plans.
Farley is also loaded with athleticism. He shows great catch up and closing speed at the top of routes. He has one of the quickest downhill burst of the entire cornerback class and longer arms to help make plays on those short routes as well.
Farley’s athleticism, along with his intelligence, focus, and determination, has been a huge driving force in his ability to change positions and immediately become so good in man coverage. He pairs his straight line athletic abilities with quick feet and fluid hips that allow him to break open and follow receivers simultaneously. Farley’s time spent learning offensive tendencies and most likely moves also aids him in being able to better anticipate what the receiver will actually do on the play.
In the run game or in the pass game Farley attacks downhill with a lot of aggressiveness. He will either make sure you’re not going to catch a pass or either he will hit you hard enough to where you will regret catching it and think twice before you do again. He also recognizes screens quickly and will blow them up early. This hasn’t been an issue but it could potentially become one at the next level if he continues to fully commit to coming downhill before the play is 100% established.
Farley also shows great vision while in coverage. He can read the quarterback and the ball and see exactly what they’re thinking and know exactly where they are going to put the ball. He also does a good job of reacting to receiver’s hands so he can quickly make a play on them. This can also end up being to a fault because he tends to focus too much of the quarterback rather than what the whole play is doing and it could lead to being susceptible to getting faked out.
Caleb Farley (6'2", 205) played QB in high school and planned to play offense when he first committed to VT.
After just two years at corner, Farley should be considered the top CB in the 2021 class — legit tools and still a ton of room to develop. pic.twitter.com/1sGBSTS3MU
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 21, 2021
Farley is coming into the NFL with two main flaws to his name. The first flaw would be his health, he missed 2017 with a torn ACL, he missed 2 games in 2019 with back spasms. This lead to him opting out of 2020 and having back surgery on a pinched nerve and then announcing recently that he would have another back surgery to try to fully repair everything.
Farley’s second biggest negative is his rawness, and this translates to multiple areas in his game. The first and biggest being that he can be undisciplined in coverage. Farley has been seen falling far for some pump fakes and getting fooled on double routes. These more advanced moves haven’t come across too often and that’s why he so easily fooled on them. It won’t be a hard fix he just needs the experience.
He also can be found opening his hips up too early in coverage even if it’s not needed and still has room to backpedal and read more. This can cause him to lose steps when following the receiver if he doesn’t have his eyes on them completely or especially if they’re in a blind spot of his.
A few other weaknesses he possesses is that, one, he can struggle to get off blocks a lot of times and is usually seen last coming into the running play to make a play on the ball carrier. The second is that his stance and process as a corner can be awkward at times. When anticipating a move his hips and feet start to hesitate and he starts playing high in his backpedal when he needs to be lower. This can still be fixed with more time and experience though.
Farley also needs to improve his tackling form. He is aggressive and likes to hit people but with sloppy technique there have been too many instances of him either taking a bad angle or arm tackling and the ball carrier slipping right through him.
Farley is a rare gem of a talent and he comes with every tool any NFL GM could wish for when looking for a new corner for their team. The height, athleticism, aggressiveness, ball skills, intelligence, the list just goes on and on about everything he brings to the table.
With all those positive attributes, it comes with a price for teams and what they’re willing to gamble on. Farley is raw and his technical work still has a long way to go before he could ever become something big in the NFL. He also has the health concerns that can scare away some teams.
For a team like the Green Bay Packers, they are in a perfect position to take someone like Farley. They just resigned cornerback Kevin King so the need for an immediate starter has quickly disappeared and they can now afford to take someone like Farley and let him rest and learn the position before they start to put him into the fire.
Farley currently projects as a later top-25 pick in the 1st round after being talked about as a top 15 prospect before the surgery news. I still believe someone will take a chance on those issues and he will get selected somewhere around pick 20.