Caleb Farley is likely to be one of the first corners taken off the board in this years NFL draft, and we’ll look at where he might land. However, he almost wasn’t a cornerback at all. But this is one of those, ‘maybe it was meant to be’ moments. Today I’m taking a look at his story, his journey to the NFL draft, and we’ll finish with a theory on which team might suit him best
Caleb Farley – Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Farley was born in North Carolina, and began playing organised football at the age of six. He ran like the wind, and was the starting quarterback for his high school team. He notes that he received visits from the coaches at Virginia Tech, and liked the idea of going to college there ever since.
Unlike many of the other first round talents i’ve written profiles on so far, Farley wasn’t highly recruited by all the big schools. There’s no Clemson, Alabama, LSU on his offer sheet. In fact, Farley only received seven offers in total, which included local school South Carolina, plus West Virginia, and Wake Forest.
He was listed as an athlete, with a 0.87 grade, and a three star recruit. He enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2017, with a plan to play wide receiver…
But that wasn’t meant to be. Caleb tore his ACL in summer camp during his freshman year, and as a result missed the entire season.
However, he’s documented that he felt this injury was a blessing to him, as he got to spend a lot more time with his mum, Robin, who was battling breast cancer. Had he not been injured, he’d have been committed to the gruelling schedule of a college athlete. So he see’s the positive in this.
He talks very fondly of his mother in interviews scattered around the internet. Speaking of what a positive influence she was on him, and her ability to be happy with her life despite the difficult circumstances she was going through.
Robin Farley passed away in January 2018, before Caleb got the chance to play at the college level. He skipped the bowl game down in Florida so he could be there with his family at the end. She’d supported him through his high school career and attended every game, despite her illness. His Virginia Tech coach, Coach Fuente, sat down with Caleb after his mother passed to check in with him, and came away from it saying Caleb had made him feel better:
“There’ve been two times in his life that I’ve gone to him to try to make him feel better about a bad situation — his mother’s death and his injury,” Fuente said. “And both those conversations, he’s made me feel better. If the shoe was on the other foot, I don’t think anyone would walk away saying, ‘Man, coach made me feel better.’ It’s a remarkable gift.” – Quote referenced on ESPN.
As his rehab came to an end the decision was made that Caleb Farley would move to corner, as the team had a need, and he’d be low on the depth chart as a receiver due to coming off an injury and not yet having any experience. He’d not played corner up until this point, but here we are talking about him as a first round draft pick so… i guess it went well.
Standing at six foot three, he’s got great size for the position. A lot of it was kind of learn as you go for him, and he picked it up quickly. Never having tackled before, or played defence at all, that’s no easy feat at the college level. His first ever game, which his family all travelled to, was against Florida State in Tallahassee. He walked away from that game with two interceptions and a sack. Now that’s pretty good going for a young man who’s never played any defence!
Over the course of that season he got better and better, and went into the following season, in 2019, aiming to be the best in the nation. He made a statement as a man coverage corner, and the scouts began to talk.
Once the pandemic hit, Farley made the difficult decision to opt out of the season,. He attributed his decision to the fact that he’d lost one parent, and wouldn’t forgive himself if he contracted COVID and passed it on to his father. He says that growing old with his dad is one of the most important things to him, and didn’t trust his lifestyle at Virginia Tech. He pointed towards players going home, going to parties, and then returning to school and not being tested, and wasn’t shy about the poor testing schedule Virginia Tech had in place. As a result, Caleb opted out, and turned his focus to preparing for the draft back home.
In Caleb Farley, you’re getting a sticky man to man corner, who’s still raw at the position. With only two years of defensive experience in total, his performances are incredible. He’s a natural, and picked up the position extremely quickly. I’m a firm believer that playing receiver helps you become a better cornerback, and visa versa. You know what the man opposite you is trying to do that way. You understand your opponent better. The upside here with only two years at the position is huge. Imagine the height of his ceiling of potential.
Boasting six career interceptions in two seasons, including one pick six. I really like his game, and can see why he is tipped to be the first cornerback selected this year. Farley did miss the last two games of the 2019 season with back spasms, but his final two games playing would both be shutouts for the Virginia Tech defence. He contributed heavily to those performances, including the pick six against Pitt.
Farley is a very humble guy, from what I’ve discovered over the last couple of days researching him. He likes to travel home, visit with his family, spend time with his dad and his dog, Legend. He notes that he loves his private life, but it does lack that ‘feminine touch’. They all miss his mum tremendously, and his father talks about how he has struggled to fill the void, but finds comfort knowing that Caleb’s mother loved how much he loved football.
I love writing these profiles, because I learn so much about these athletes as I go, beyond their 40 yard dash times, and on the field abilities. Caleb Farley is a guy you should be rooting for, from top to bottom. I love what I’ve discovered.
After reading about his journey and humble attitude, i want him on my own team to be honest. But the Dolphins are not in need of a corner, so i’ll need to be realistic with this one!
The most logical fit is the 49ers. They somehow find themselves at twelve in the draft due to one of the most ridiculous injury riddled seasons of all time. I believe there’s a chance they trade this pick for a corner, so they might be out of the running anyway.
The Broncos however, who pick at number nine, need a corner to play alongside AJ Bouye. They are, in my mind, in the running for a quarterback too, but I like the fit for Caleb Farley in Denver. The Broncos are a good team, they do need to figure out if Drew Lock is the guy or not, but once they get that right I think they’re in a pretty good spot. They focused heavily on offence in last years off season, so this year I would understand if they took a shot at the defence.
Wherever he lands, I’m excited to see the potential of his NFL career. Caleb Farley, good luck to you sir.