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2021 NFL Draft Scouting Spotlight: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley

A talented corner who could slide

The 2021 NFL Draft is fast approaching. Less than three weeks remain until all of the most hyped NFL prospects are finally placed with their new, respective NFL teams. The Buffalo Bills are scheduled to pick later than we’ve come to expect, but general manager Brandon Beane will have plenty of opportunity to take the team over the top in hopes of making another deep run into the playoffs and, if they’re lucky, the Super Bowl.

Cornerback is a position that has been highlighted many times in the lead up to the draft. With the proven presence and all-pro ability of Tre’Davious White on one side of the field, the Bills are seemingly missing his future counterpart. The Bills elected to re-sign Levi Wallace this offseason to a one-year deal to serve as a potential floor if the position were not to be addressed in the draft. 2020 seventh-round selection Dane Jackson returns as a surprise contributor in 2021 with hopes of competing for that spot this coming season. Meanwhile, nickel corner Taron Johnson’s contract is scheduled to expire following the 2021 season. Former Virginia Tech corner Caleb Farley is a big name who could be in play when the Bills go on the clock at pick No. 30.


Caleb Farley CB (Virginia Tech) Scouting Report

Measurables: 6’2” 197 lbs
2020 stats: Opted out of the 2020 season
2019 stats: 20 total tackles, 12 passes defended, four interceptions
Year: Redshirt Junior
Pro day testing: DNP

Summary

Caleb Farley is a long, agile corner who has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries over the course of his four seasons at Virginia Tech. Farley opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Had he been lucky enough to have a clean medical history, there is almost no way he would be on the board for the Bills at pick 30. Unfortunately for him, his medicals have potentially pushed him down some boards and could leave teams approaching him with some caution as he has had two back surgeries since the last time anyone has seen him on a football field. As a player, Farley offers the potential to be a shut-down man corner locking down one side of the field all on his own consistently in the ACC. While there is still polish to add to his zone coverage abilities, more reps at the position should be good for Farley who clearly has the length and athleticism to be effective in various schemes. Based off film alone, he would be in competition to be the first cornerback taken off the board.

Strengths

  • A very long, prototypical corner for the NFL
  • Fluid and agile in the lower half to allow for smooth pedal and transitions
  • Excellent stop-start quickness to mirror receivers’ routes
  • Sticky man coverage corner who plays with intellect beyond his years
  • Plays through hands at the catch point
  • Wins and dominates against the man in “iso” situations with no help from other defenders
  • Click and close ability to break on a route in off coverage

Weaknesses

  • Injury history is significant (2017 ACL tear, 2019 recurring back spasms and subsequent surgery, microdisectomy procedure in 2021)
  • 23 total games played in career at Virginia Tech
  • Not a willing tackler
  • Struggles to get off blocks made by receivers
  • Not an experienced zone defender; there are certainly timid/uncertain moments on tape

Draft projection: Mid first round - Early second round

Why he fits the Bills

The Bills have struggled to address one of the only holes on the roster at CB2 with Levi Wallace slotted in as a high floor option. If Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are looking to take a swing on someone with scary medicals and a potential draft steal, Farley is their guy. With two back surgeries in just over a year, some teams may start to feel the heat when it becomes an option to draft the star corner. The Bills are as set as any team to take a chance on a talent such as Farley at pick 30 with minimal consequences comparatively even if his career does not outlive some of the other corners in this draft. Farley is a true boom-or-bust prospect due to his medical history.

It should be noted that ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that Farley received a positive report at NFL Combine medical re-checks.