Caleb Farley: Next Top CB?

Caleb Farley was one of the first players to opt-out of the 2020 season to prepare for the draft and it was a move that made a lot of sense. He’s already entrenched as one of the top cornerback prospects in the class and was on a Virginia Tech team that doesn’t have national title expectations for the season. At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself and your future. Farley is pretty inexperienced at the position, coming to Virginia Tech as a wide receiver, but has impressed in his two years as a Hokie. I think he solidly a first-round prospect due to his upside, but with a good combine and pre-draft process, should become the first corner drafted.

Positives

Lockdown Pass Coverage

If you’re going to be a high draft pick as a cornerback, teams must believe that you have the chance to be a lockdown cover corner. While teams might value other skills like tackling or special teams versatility, it’s being able to shut down the passing game that will earn you your money. Farley might have the highest upside of any player in this class when it comes to being a great man cover corner. Being a former wide receiver, he anticipates routes and thinks like a receiver so knows the nuances of the position. He has the speed to keep up with smaller, shiftier guys yet the length and strength to battle with bigger opponents. He’s seemingly always in the hip pocket of receivers so it’s tough to gain separation from him.

If you aren’t aggressive as a WR, Farley will eat you alive
Will hang in their with bigger oppoennts
Stuck to him like white on rice

Turnover Machine

Six interceptions in twenty-six career games might not seem like a gaudy amount, but it proves to me he has the awareness and anticipation to be a ball hawk in the NFL. As previously mentioned, he’s a former wide receiver, so you know he has the hands to not drop any easy picks. When he turns his head around (more on that later), he does a great job of keeping his eyes on the quarterback and jumping routes. Many of his interceptions came from his excellent coverage skills, in that wide receivers are unable to break free of him.

Having good hands is a huge plus for a DB
Thinks and plays like a wide receiver
A defensive game changer

Physicality and Athleticism

At 6-2, 200+ pounds, Farley has excellent size for a corner. But, it’s how he uses his size that makes him a top prospect. He battles in coverage, not afraid to be physical with receivers. I honestly didn’t see him in press coverage too much, but when he did it, he held his own. In addition to his size, he runs very well and displays good short-area quickness. For what he lacks in refinement and experience, he makes up with with athleticism.

Textbook coverage
Pure athleticism on display

Negatives

Raw and Inexperienced

He came to Virginia Tech as a wide receiver and played quarterback in high school, so he doesn’t have much experience at the cornerback position. There are times where his inexperience shows up and now that he won’t have a third year of tape will bring up some questions. He might not get produce immediate results as he continues to learn the position, so an organization needs to be patient and trust their coaching staff.

Takes a terrible angle to the ball

Doesn’t Turn Head Around

This is my biggest pet peeve for defensive backs and it happens at all levels. You’re taught as a corner to stay close to your receiver but at a certain point turn your head around. Farley got cheap penalties or gave up a big play because he lost track of the ball. You can probably say this is a result of inexperience, but some players never develop this instinct.

CB’s are taught to look at the receivers eyes, turn around when you see the eyes get bigger!
Elite corners turn their head around to make a play on the ball

Bites on Double Moves

Because he’s so aggressive, Farley will bite on double moves. You have to take the good and the bad with aggressive corners, but this leaves you open for a big play against you. Maybe being put into a system that utilizes a deep safety over the top will help Farley’s play as it’ll allow him to be aggressive still but have some help in case he gets beat.

Jumping routes is a do or die scenario
Tough to jump routes on speedy receivers

Conclusion

Farley was a pleasant surprise and impressed me when watching his film. He has a good chance to develop into a top corner in this league but a team will have to be patient with his development. He has the skills that you can’t teach and projects to be at worst a mid-level starter in the NFL. With the growing importance of the passing game, good corners are in high demand. I expect him to go right in the middle of the first round, where he has the chance to get some playing time early.

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