Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley enters the NFL after playing quarterback in high school, beginning his college career as a wide receiver, and then transitioning to defense where he shined as a cornerback for the Hokies in 2019. While he is new to the position, his film does not resemble a player that is still learning the ropes. Farley brings a rare blend of physical traits to the table in terms of size, length, quickness, fluidity, and athleticism that he pairs with exceptional man coverage skills that make him an exciting NFL prospect. Not only is he sticky in man coverage, Farley has game-changing ball skills and is an alpha in coverage. Unfortunately, his injury history is concerning. Farley suffered a non-contact ACL tear in 2017 that forced him to miss the season and then missed the last two games in 2019 due to back spasms, an issue Justin Fuente said Farley dealt with all season long. When it comes to on-the-field issues, Farley is a fairly complete prospect that is clearly ascending but sharpening his zone coverage skills would be beneficial. Additionally, he needs to develop his tackling technique to decrease an alarming amount of whiffs on tape. Farley has a full toolbox of traits to develop into a shutdown corner at the next level that can create takeaways.
Ideal Role: Starting outside cornerback
Scheme Fit: Schemes that feature large amounts of press and man coverage
Written by Joe Marino
Games watched: Wake Forest (2019), Pittsburgh (2019), Notre Dame (2019), Miami (2019)
Best Game Studied: Miami (2019)
Worst Game Studied: Notre Dame (2019)
Man Coverage Skills: Farley patiently mirrors routes and never panics. He’s sticky in man coverage as routes elongate and he has a natural feel for anticipating breaks, often finishing routes for receivers. He has the size, length, fluidity, quickness, speed, and pattern-matching skills to match up one on one with any receiver he’s tasked with. In pressman, his physical traits and coverage ability enables him to quickly cap routes and take his receiver off the menu for the opposing quarterback. In 2019, the Hokies showed clear confidence in Farley given the amount of reps he was left on an island to defend his man with no assistance.
Zone Coverage Skills: There are plenty of positive reps of zone coverage in Farley’s tape and his size, length, and foot speed are exceptional traits that project him favorably to zone duties in the NFL. With that said, there are times where he looks a touch unsure with spacing/layering and squeezing routes in zone. Given his limited experience playing corner, more confidence and consistency should come as he gains more reps.
Ball Skills: Farley began his career at Virginia Tech playing receiver and it’s easy to see why when he has chances to make plays on the football in coverage. The game slows down for him at the catch point. He has no issues tracking, adjusting, and invading the catch point with excellent technique. Farley does well to play through the hands of the receiver when he’s tested.
Tackling: Farley has the size and length needed to be an effective tackler, but those traits are not applied consistently when given opportunities to finish plays. There are times when it appears Farley lacks the enthusiasm needed to be a consistent tackler and there are too many missed attempts on his film. Farley must develop his tackling technique, become more willing, and improve his consistency.
Versatility: Farley projects as an outside corner in the NFL and there isn’t any appeal or reason to consider him in a slot role. There isn’t a coverage technique that he lacks the desired physical traits to excel in but his best reps come in press-man and man coverage. With nine career attempts, Farley does have some experience as a returner and he was a high school quarterback that began his college career at wide receiver.
Competitive Toughness: In coverage, Farley is an alpha. He’s assertive in press coverage, physical when mirroring routes, and invasive at the catch point. With that said, his temperament playing off blocks in pursuit and when opportunities are presented to tackle are often disappointing.
Functional Athleticism: Farley features a rare blend of size and athleticism. It’s not often corners of his size are as loose, fluid, and quick as Farley is. He has exceptional long speed to stay connected as routes elongate and recover. His footwork is clean and his pedal is smooth, leading to easy transitions. His click-and-close ability is dynamic and his explosiveness shines when he flips his hips to turn and run.
Football IQ: Farley played quarterback in high school and started his career at Virginia Tech as a wide receiver. With that in mind, his film does not resemble a player that is new to the position. His man coverage skills and route anticipation ability is outstanding. That said, he does have room to develop more confidence in zone coverage.
Run Defending: Considering Farley’s size and physical gifts, he should be a much more effective run defender than he currently is. While there are positive moments playing off contact and finishing, the bad outweighs the good. Run defense is an area that Farley must improve on to reach his ceiling at the next level.
Length: Farley has terrific length and he knows how to use it in coverage. He has the length and power in his hands to redirect receivers in press coverage and destroy the timing of the route. His length also shows up at the catch point with his ability to play through the hands of receivers and also increase his margin for error. Unfortunately, his length is not an asset playing off contact or tackling at this point like it should be.
Prospect Comparison: Antonio Cromartie (2006 NFL Draft, San Diego Chargers)
TDN Consensus: 88.25/100
Joe Marino: 89.00/100
Kyle Crabbs: 86.00/100
Jordan Reid: 87.00/100
Drae Harris: 91.00/100
- Jun 24, 2022
- Jun 22, 2022