Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley is one of the best cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft and a player that the Dallas Cowboys could use in their defensive backfield. However, multiple back surgeries over the last year have taken Farley from a sure-fire first-rounder to a player that has a huge question mark over his head.
Farley recently went into detail about his back injury. He explained that it occurred during a deadlift exercise which damaged his lumbosacral joint which connects the L5 and S1 discs. Farley elected to only repair the L5 disc and had some physical limitations over the last year. Once his S1 flared up last month, he decided to have a micsodiscectomy procedure which forced him out of his Pro Day workout.
Even with that being said, Farley is confident it won't affect him in the NFL.
“I did a great job managing over a year but that bulge is still in my S1 and unfortunately I irritated it a month ago, which caused me to pull back on my training,” Farley said. “I was trying to cut back and manage the inflammation to come out here on pro day and put up some crazy numbers. But after talking to Dr. (Robert) Watkins, getting the MRI, and getting things looked at, we were advised it would be best to go ahead and fix this problem so I will be ready for training camp and ready for the season. It was not a recurring disc or anything like that. What I had previously worked on is still intact. It was great news. I'm actually excited about this.”
The former Hokie opted out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic and shifted his focus to preparing for the NFL Draft. Before that though, he was a stud on the field. In 2018, he racked up 36 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, and a sack. He would garner First-Team All-ACC honors in 2019 after he amassed 20 tackles, four interceptions, 12 pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown.
Farley has the ideal size of 6'2 and 207 pounds. He recently ran a blazing 4.28 in the 40-yard dash which showed his elite speed. Excellent in man coverage or backed off the line of scrimmage. His playing days as a wide receiver during his freshman year in 2017 assisted him in having top-notch ball skills which led to 19 pass breakups and six interceptions in his two years on the field in college.
He has all the traits you want in a starting cornerback on the NFL level. The injury concerns will be there, but Farley feels once teams know everything they need to about his medical history that his back issues won't be an issue.
“When the teams look at the imaging and get the real information I don't think it will be an issue,” Farley said. “I accepted my draft invite so I'll be in Cleveland. If a team wants the best corner in the draft, they'll come find me.”
The great debate has been whether Farley, Alabama's Patrick Surtain, or South Carolina's Jaycee Horn is the best cornerback in the draft and who fits the Cowboys the best. Surtain and Horn have the leg up currently, but that doesn't mean Farley is completely off the table.
When the Cowboys pick at 10, all eyes will be on them, per usual.