The NFL draft is right around the corner and the Dallas Cowboys will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch. They have holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but the cornerback position is near the top of that list.
Alabama's Patrick Surtain impressed at his Pro Day by running a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, recorded a 39-inch vertical, and 10'11” in the broad jump. Also, another top cornerback prospect, South Carolina's Jaycee Horn was slightly better with a 4.39 in the 40, a 41.5-inch vertical, and 11'1″ in the broad jump.
That takes care of two of the top three cornerbacks coming into the 2021 NFL draft but there's another one drawing major attention. Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley is considered by some to be the best of three and they see him potentially being the Cowboy's first-round pick.
However, a few days ago, it was reported that Farley was to undergo a microdisectomy on Tuesday with back specialist Robert Watkins and would miss his Pro Day.
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, a projected first-round pick, will have a microdisectomy Tuesday with noted back-specialist Robert Watkins and will not work out at his pro day Friday, per his agent @DrewJRosenhaus.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 22, 2021
A microdisectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed on patients with a herniated lumbar disc. A surgeon removes portions of the herniated disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord nerve root. Seven to 12 weeks is the expected time to fully recover from this procedure which will put Farley on pace to be ready for training camp.
As a freshman with the Hokies, Farley was originally set to be a wide receiver but suffered a torn ACL. After converting to cornerback in 2018, Farley put everyone on notice with 36 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, and a sack. A year later, Farley continued to ball as he registered 20 tackles, four interceptions, and 12 pass breakups while garnering First-Team All-ACC honors.
Just before the 2020 season, Farley had a similar procedure to the one he had on Tuesday after playing through a pinched nerve for most of his 2019 campaign. However, Farley wouldn't take a snap last season after opting out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The troubling thing about Farley having his back procedure is that it's the second time he's gone under the knife in the last year, and that's without playing any football since the end of the 2019 season.
This likely means that the Cowboys won't select him with the 10th overall pick. However, it shouldn't take Farley off of their draft board completely. If the Cowboys go safety in the first round and Farley's draft stock drops due to his surgery, he could be there at 44 when they pick again, which would take care of two major positions for Dallas early in the draft.
Farley's days as a receiver give him excellent ball skills, which follows the footsteps of the Cowboys 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs who played receiver during his freshman year at Alabama. He has the ideal size at 6'2 and 207 pounds and excels in man coverage.
He has all the tools to be an excellent cornerback on the professional level. His support against the run will need to better as well as his play in zone coverage where he sometimes gets out of position. Also, his injury history raises some red flags.
Even with this setback, Farley won't have to wait too long to hear his name called at the NFL draft. Now, the only thing left to see is if his new home will be with the Cowboys.