2021 NFL Draft: Will injury issues push Caleb Farley out of the first round?

2021 NFL Draft prospect Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies (Photo by Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies (Photo by Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley is an elite talent when he’s on the football field. At 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, Farley is an exceptional athlete with lightning speed and all the traits necessary to succeed in the NFL as a perimeter CB.

For virtually the entire NFL Draft process, Farley was consistently mocked inside the top fifteen as either the first or second cornerback off the board alongside Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II.

That was until news broke that Farley would be missing his pro day due to another setback in his back injury which would require surgery. Farley’s agent confirmed that if his rehab goes to plan, Caleb will be back for his rookie training camp.

Farley stated that the original injury occurred while deadlifting. Specifically, he damaged a joint which connects the S1 and L5 discs. Farley chose to have surgery on his L5, allowing the S1 disc to heal on its own. That was until last month when he re-aggravated his S1 disc, leaving him no other choice than to undergo a microdiscectomy.

In an interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Farley said, “I did a great job managing it over a year but that bulge is still in my S1 and unfortunately I irritated it a month ago.”

As we all know, back injuries are never straightforward and have derailed the careers of NFL prospects in the past. It certainly doesn’t help that Farley missed the entire 2020 season after opting out, as a strong Pro Day performance would’ve cemented his status as a top fifteen pick on April 29th.

How far will Caleb Farley fall?

This news could push Farley below South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II on many draft boards around the league. But will his fall stop there?

Other cornerback prospects who are commonly mocked in the second round include Ifeatu Melifonwu and Asante Samuel Jr. There is a chance that either of these prospects could sneak into the back end of the first round ahead of Farley if teams are really concerned by the injury.

Luckily for Farley, the NFL’s need for solid outside cornerbacks is as large as it’s ever been. In the late first round, teams such as the Green Bay Packers stand on the brink of a Super Bowl and Farley’s high floor to come in and succeed straight away could entice them to roll the dice with Farley at pick 29.

Due to this overall need at the position, and the sheer talent he possesses, I would say it’s still unlikely for Caleb Farley to fall the way out of the first round. We still have three weeks to go before the draft takes place in Cleveland, and the league’s perception of Farley could swing either way on the pendulum before the commissioner takes to the stage.

Farley cast a vote of confidence in himself by reassuring everyone that the injury is not as serious as some are making it out to be, “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.”

Next. Top positions of need for the Cleveland Browns. dark

Will Caleb Farley achieve his NFL dream by hearing his name called in the top 32 on April 29th? Or will the standout Hokie leave the infamous green room at the end of day one with no suitors.