Ranking: No. 1 CB, No. 6 Overall
Weight: 207 Lbs
University: Virginia Tech
The story of this All-ACC cornerback actually starts off on the offensive side of the ball. At Maiden High School in Maiden, North Carolina; Caleb Farley was a multi-sport athlete. He set state records in both track and on the football field. Farley played primarily quarterback, but logged snaps all over the field. He finished his career with over 10,000 total yards and 124 total touchdowns. 247Sports would rate him as a three-star athlete, and garnered offers from Wake Forest, South Carolina and Georgia Tech. On April, 15th 2016 Farley committed to Virginia Tech.
Even though he played quarterback in high school Farley enrolled at Virginia Tech as a wide receiver. Unfortunately he would suffer a torn ACL prematurely ending his 2017 season before it could start. That wouldn’t be the only obstacle Caleb would have to overcome though; on January 22nd, 2018 his mother passed away of breast cancer. His true freshman year would be redshirted thus saving a year of eligibility, but it was still a year he will never forget.
There is a bright side to everything though as the injury caused Caleb to switch over to the cornerback position. It would only take one game to prove that being the right move too. In his first collegiate game he recorded two interceptions and a sack against Florida State. Farley finished his first season with 36 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions and seven pass break-ups.
Caleb Farley would light up the ACC his next season with Virginia Tech. He would record a pass break-up in eight of the ten games he played that season. That would include a six game streak to start the year. Farley helped Virginia Tech come away with a big win over Miami (FL) where he recorded two interceptions and pass break-ups. He also recorded four pass break-ups in the Hokies win over North Carolina. At the end of the year Caleb finished with 20 total tackles, four interceptions, a pick six, and 12 pass break-ups.
On July 29th, 2020 Caleb Farley became the first D1 football player to opt-out of the 2021 season due to safety reasons related to COVID-19. In a video he posted to social media Farley explained how he had already lost one parent due to illness, and couldn’t afford to lose another family member. As we know now this would spark plenty of other high profile prospect to opt-out the season as well.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Even with a very talented cornerback class I would still rate Farley to have the best ball skills among the group. Being a converted receiver definitely helps, and is noticeable on tape. Farley also played high school quarterback, allowing him an idea of what a QB is thinking during a pass. With all that being said, it is pretty obvious you’re getting an extremely athletic kid in Caleb Farley.
He matches his athleticism with a very big frame for a cornerback. 6’2 cornerbacks don’t grow on trees, especially ones with Farley’s talent. He has very long arms that can blanket receivers. His size also lets him pair against tight ends or big slot receivers.
Though being a converted receiver has its benefits, Caleb Farley still will have plays showing his inexperience. Being the elite athlete that he is, Farley could get rely on his athleticism to mask any inexperience. His reaction time should improve with NFL level coaching and game reps. Something that might not be an easy fix is his ability to attack running backs. Even though he is a larger cornerback that can be aggressive with receivers, coming up and making a tackle in run defense is not Farley’s forte. In today’s football is it very rare to find cornerbacks that are elite in coverage, and willing to make big tackles, but thats what makes you elite at the NFL level. Your Jalen Ramesy’s and Jaire Alexander’s of the world make big tackles almost every game.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp
NFL Draft Projection
This cornerback class is deep and could have four different top dogs depending who you ask. Caleb Farley is mine, and I personally believe he is a top six prospect in this draft class. 6’2 cornerbacks with ball skills don’t grow on trees, and he is still very raw at the position.
Nearly every team drafting in the top 10 could use a new cornerback. Heck probably every team in the NFL could use another elite cornerback on the roster. With teams like the Bengals, Lions, Broncos and even the Falcons inside the first ten picks; I find it hard to believe that Caleb Farley isn’t selected inside the top ten.
NFL Player Comp
Due to his rawness at the cornerback position Farley makes some bold decisions at times. He is turnover hungry, and always looking to make big plays on the ball. As stated earlier, his background as a receiver gives him above average hands for a cornerback and makes him dangerous once he gets the ball in his hands. Big, physical, just how Marcus Peters was coming out of Washington.
Marcus Peters is a boom or bust cornerback, and he’s become an All-Pro off it. He is one of the league’s best at grabbing interceptions, and always a threat to return it for six. It does come back to bite him, allowing big plays down the field at times. Either way Peters was a 1st round pick, and that was with some off the field concerns too. Farley is the opposite but just as talented, thus why I think he could be an All-Pro cornerback as well.