The cornerback position is almost inarguably the Denver Broncos’ biggest need heading into the 2021 offseason.
After the release of veteran cornerback AJ Bouye, the Denver Broncos are left with veteran Bryce Callahan and 2020 rookies Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey atop their current rotation at the cornerback position.
All three of those players have some pretty significant question marks heading into 2021, although if all three are healthy, they are all three legitimate options for Vic Fangio and his defense to play significant time.
That won’t preclude new general manager George Paton from going after top cornerback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, which is loaded with talent at that particular position group. The general consensus, at this point in time, is that Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II are the top two players at the cornerback position in this class.
While there will certainly be a focus on Patrick Surtain II as the offseason rolls along, this post is all about highlighting one of the rarest players in this class — Caleb Farley.
When he was in high school, Farley was a cheat code as a quarterback. That’s right — quarterback.
At one point in his record-setting high school career, Farley had two games in a row where he accounted for a total of eight touchdowns. As great as his production was in high school, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete entered Virginia Tech without a position.
Initially, many thought he would make a seamless transition to wide receiver given his skills with the ball in his hands. A torn ACL during preseason camp derailed that initial plan for Virginia Tech, and when Farley resurfaced in 2018, he was listed as a defensive back instead of wide receiver.
Not only that, but he was up over 200 pounds.
A 6-foot-2 cornerback over 200 pounds is pretty rare, even in today’s game. Built like a WR1, Farley used both his tremendous size and athleticism to make a virtual seamless transition from offensive to defensive playmaker.
Farley’s ascent as a defensive back prospect has been incredible to watch. In both 2019 and 2020, he was named to Bruce Feldman’s annual offseason “freaks” list.
Injuries are, at this point, somewhat of a concern for Farley. He had the torn ACL in 2017 and the back surgery after the 2019 season. He opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, but frankly he might have been just as concerned about even one more injury popping up and possibly hurting his draft stock.
Despite the torn ACL, he was clocked in an actual game at over 24 miles per hour? That’s insane.
As the Denver Broncos attempt to keep up with the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs and Justin Herbert-led Chargers for the next who-knows-how-long, a player like Farley could be a tremendous asset.
We saw how effective Vic Fangio’s defense was capable of being in multiple matchups with both Mahomes and Herbert last season. A unicorn of an athlete like Farley within Fangio’s defense could be a weapon too potent for the Denver Broncos to pass up on, even considering the last football he played was in the 2019 season.
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The Denver Broncos will have to figure out if medicals are an issue or not, but there is no question that Caleb Farley would be a fascinating prospect for the Denver Broncos to take with their 9th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.