This time last year it looked like the Tennessee Titans were going to start Jackrabbit Jenkins and Kevin Johnson at cornerback with the development of Kristian Fulton and Chris Jackson still an unknown.
It is important to remember just how much can change in a few months and just how much growth a player can have from their rookie season to their second year.
Someone who everyone is sleeping on a little bit too much is the Tennessee Titans’ first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Caleb Farley. The main knock on him has been his checkered injury history, but that may not be something that will bother him much longer.
Jim Wyatt just published an article this morning on the team’s website and there is a lot of encouraging things in there. Without spoiling the whole thing, there are two main takeaways that I had.
Caleb Farley’s growth is noticeable to Tennessee Titans HC Mike Vrabel
The first thing that jumps out is Mike Vrabel talking about Farley’s work ethic and his consistency. It is rare to see Vrabel talk about a player, but when he does talk it becomes clear that he values a few things above everything else.
Availability, consistency, work ethic, doing what you are asked to do, and toughness are things that he prizes over almost anything else.
In that article, Vrabel had this encouraging quote:
"“He looks like he has been rehabbing hard and doing what he has been asked to do,” Vrabel said of Farley. “I like his consistency. He looks good, and he certainly looks stronger when I see him in the training room.”"
That is great news for Titans fans for a few reasons, mainly because it means that Farley is working hard and also staying out of Mike Vrabel’s doghouse. As long as he stays out of there, he will be given a fair shake to prove himself during training camp.
The other thing that is worth noting is that he is filling out his frame. That is great from a football perspective because it means that he is building more functional strength and potentially helping prevent injuries in the future.
It also shows that he is committed to putting in the work to not only recover as quickly and effectively as possible but to come back better than he was before.
"“He has really worked hard,” Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said of Farley from the NFL owners meetings. “He has been in there a lot working, rehabbing. He is changing his body. He is a taller corner, and he has added some mass to his upper body. He has done a nice job.”"
After the draft, Kristian Fulton was an afterthought because of how much he struggled during his rookie season both with consistency and nagging injuries. In year two he became one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and he consistently thrived against tough competition.
Right now the Tennessee Titans have Fulton, Elijah Molden, Buster Skrine, and Chris Jackson, so they aren’t going to be forced into playing someone with no experience if they need a cornerback to step in this season. However, there is a possibility (that becomes more real every time you hear people talk about Caleb Farley) that the Titans could be adding another good cornerback to one of the best defenses in the NFL.
After all the injuries the Titans dealt with in 2021, they still managed to get the 1-seed in the AFC. Just imagine how good they can be if they stay healthy and after they added Austin Hooper and Robert Woods. Even though people can’t get over the flukey playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the sky is the limit for the Tennessee Titans in 2022 especially if Tim Kelly can effectively push Todd Downing out of playcalling duties by the end of the year.