Okay Tennessee Titans fans, it’s time to ask the question because you’ve had well over a month to regroup, reassess, and calm down. How do you feel about the decision to take Caleb Farley now? Hopefully, you aren’t as nervous as you once were.
Think about it. Before there was all of this discussion about him sitting out or his injury history, there were quite a few scouting sources that had him listed as the best cornerback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He most certainly looks the part at six-foot-two and 197 pounds. Those big NFL receivers aren’t going to be able to bully him.
Keep a few things in mind if you’re a Tennessee Titans fan.
Though no prospect is perfect, seeing someone labeled as ‘injury-prone” is always scary. Playing with better technique can be taught, but you can’t coach someone out of the hospital or off of the trainer’s table. Back injuries always get more attention as well.
No one questions the statement that Farley upgrades the Titans secondary if he’s healthy. The question is will he be healthy? No one will know until the season begins, but in the meantime, let’s dig into what he can control, his play on the field, and what Tennessee’s fans should expect.
One source says Farley should remind Tennessee Titans fans of someone.
To teach ourselves a thing or two (or maybe even three), how about we go to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein? There are many who are better when it comes to breaking down prospects. Actually, if someone is better, it’s hard to think of who that might be at the moment.
Recently, in his draft profile of the 22nd-overall selection, he gave Mr. Farley a grade of 6.38, which means that he will be a starter within his first two seasons. He compares the rookie to former NFL Corner Sean Smith, a man hat played nine NFL seasons and appeared in four playoff games.
Here’s some of what Zierlein said about Farley, and then we’ll get into some comparisons.
"Farley possesses rare size for the position and does an excellent job of utilizing his frame and length to charge rent inside the catch space. While his traits and ball skills will be coveted, he’s still light on overall reps at the cornerback position. He needs to continue to improve his technique and discipline as he displays inconsistencies in staying connected to routes at times. Farley is an ascending talent who fits more cleanly in a press-heavy scheme. Might require early patience as he continues to gain the polish necessary to become a quality NFL starter. Concerns surrounding his past injuries and latest back procedure could cause him to slip in the draft."
Obviously, he hasn’t played a snap yet, so let’s look at some college stats and the measurables. Smith is about an inch taller than Farley, and in his playing days, he outweighed the rookie by 23 pounds or so.
As a standout at Utah, Smith racked up 65 total tackles while notching a sack, eight interceptions, and a defensive touchdown in 39 games. Farley, as mentioned, sat out of the 2020 college football season and has had limited work as a corner (23 games), but he has 56 total tackles, a sack of his own, six picks, 19 pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown.
As a professional, Smith appeared in 137 games with 122 starts and crafted a resume that includes 427 total tackles, including 375 of the solo variety, three forced fumbles, 95 pass breakups, and 14 interceptions, one of which he returned 100 yards for a touchdown.
Now, while Tennessee Titans fans will have to admit that, if they can get that type of production out of Farley they’ll be happy, but here’s something else to consider. He’s fully capable of being better. Cross your fingers, and pray that his body holds up. If it does, Titans fans are looking at something special for the next ten years or so.