2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Caleb Farleyby Christopher Gallagher February 18, 2021 7 comments
Known for his size, speed, and fluidity in coverage, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley possesses all of the traits needed to excel at the NFL level. Initially one of the first players to opt-out of the college football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the redshirt junior captured First Team All-ACC honors in 2019 after racking up 20 tackles, 12 passes defended, and four interceptions in ten games for the Hokies.
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Name Caleb Farley
School: Virginia Tech
Weight: 207 lbs
Man Coverage (9/10)
One of the best man-to-man cover corners to enter the draft in recent memory, Farley has both the fluidity and lateral quickness to shadow receivers in coverage. Additionally, with tremendous length at 6’2″, the former high school quarterback also has the speed too close on routes and disrupt the catch point of opposing players, leading to a 26.7 passer rating when targeted in 2019.
Zone Coverage (7/10)
An area of his game that still needs some refining, the former First Team All-ACC member often has lapses when in zone coverage, allowing opponents to find the soft spots around him. He also struggles with his individual awareness, allowing himself to get lost at points when picking up opposing receivers when they enter his zone. Farley is often late at times when passing players off from zone-to-zone.
At his best when he is up at the line of scrimmage, the Maiden, NC native is strong with his hands while displaying stellar technique to avoid grabbing his opponents and committing penalties. The 22-year-old also possesses the ability to remain in the receiver’s hip pocket down the field, placing him in a position to routinely make plays on the ball when he is targeted by opposing signal-callers.
Ball Skills (9/10)
Once a quarterback in high school and a converted wide receiver, the defensive back has game-changing ball skills that will allow him to make plays routinely at the NFL level. With 19 passes defended and six interceptions over his last two years with the Hokies, he can quickly get his head around when the ball is in the air. His his six-foot-two-inch frame enables him to play aggressively.
Run Defense (7.5/10)
Needing an improvement in his tackling technique in order to become strong in run support at the next level, Farley often lacked the consistency and toughness to get off blocks. He often failed to display aggressiveness and lacked pursuit angles to run down ball carriers when near the line of scrimmage.
Straight Line Speed (8/10)
Exceptionally fast for a bigger defensive back, Farley boasts the closing speed to recover down the field in coverage and the ability to put his foot in the ground and drive on the ball on short and intermediate passing routes. He can also stay in the frame of opposing wideouts through their breaks while possessing the speed and burst to jump a route and make an impact play.
Short Area Burst (8.5/10)
Incredibly sound at following opposing wideouts in and out of their breaks, Caleb possesses both outstanding footwork and athleticism. Furthermore, he also displays sound recognition when in off coverage, allowing him to close quickly on opposing ball carriers in short areas.
Positional Versatility (6.5/10)
He is penciled in as a primary man-to-man corner, often lining up at the left cornerback spot for head coach Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech, though also lined up in the slot on some pass plays.
In tough a few times on deep ball, Farley would fail to look back, forcing him to grab the receiver and take a penalty. Secondly, he is also susceptible against smaller speed receivers by looking into the backfield on double moves.
Competitive Toughness (3.5/5)
A player who remains very raw after switching over from receiver to defensive back upon arrival at Virginia Tech, he needs to improve on his consistency as a tackler snap-in and snap-out in order to become an every-down cornerback in the NFL.
Injury History (3/5)
An alarming thing for any general manager across the NFL, Farley has had an injury-riddled college career. After suffering a non-contact ACL injury in 2017, he was also forced to miss the last two games of the 2019 season due to back spasms.
A player that projects to be one of the first defensive players picked in the 2020 NFL Draft, he boasts all the tools to be a shutdown defensive back at the next level. Occupying a rare blend of size, speed, and athleticism, look for him to succeed in a scheme that features a substantial amount of man- and press-coverage, allowing him to be physical with opposing wideouts at the line of scrimmage.
Final Grade: (78/100) Top-15 Pick
Player Comp: Jimmy Smith