*CB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update info as it becomes available. 

The only argument for the mainstream on Caleb Farley is – is he the #1 or #2 or #3 corner available in this draft? Whether he ends up win, place, or show for any analysts, among the 2021 CB prospects, they always rank him as a 1st-round prospect…usually a top 20 overall for every man, woman, and child ranker.

When you read the explanation for why Farley is this top guy, you typically get all the CB prospect scouting report buzzwords and a maybe a couple clips where he covered someone really well…or my favorite (sarcastic) type of clip someone shows to prove how good a corner is – when the QB underthrows a pass and the corner prospect catches it for an interception. Wow! So dazzling!

I enter the CB scouting for 2021 having never seen Farley play for a second, so this is fresh to me and I am open to how good or not Farley is. So our first point of order – let’s try and figure if he’s any good or not on tape, and not just accept everyone’s echo chamber narrative that they can find tape to support.

To start my tape studies, I went through his game log of opponents looking for the right games to watch. What do I care how nice he was versus weak ACC teams with crappy passing games? As soon as I saw the 2019 game with Notre Dame, my mind went right to seeing him face Chase Claypool – that I can get into.

Before I share my tape notes, I did background check going in (as is my norm). Farley came to Virginia Tech as a WR prospect, a former stud running QB in high school but a three-star recruit (for what that grading system is worth…not much). Farley sustained a knee injury and missed his freshman 2017 season. He was moved to corner for 2018 and was a starter/heavy snap player and had a fine showing. In 2019, he became a 1st-team All-ACC corner with 4 INTs (#2 in ACC) and 12 PDs (#2 in ACC). He also missed two games, at the end of the season (including their bowl game), with a back injury.  

Farley entered 2020 as a top CB prospect name but was the first player in CFB to opt-out of the 2020 season.

I look over his career numbers, and on the surface nothing big jumps out. Not involved much as a tackler. Good PD counts, but that might be teams wanting to pick on him…or Farley just great in coverage. It was up to the tape to determine which.

So, I watched his 2019 game vs. Notre Dame, hoping he matched up with Chase Claypool a bunch…he didn’t. Maybe half of the game, at best. Farley just stays on one side of the field and doesn’t chase. It’s watching him against Claypool (the times he was on him) that I started to get a little squishy on Farley, but I saw some problems against the other WRs as well.

Let me start with the negatives that I see on Farley (two things that really stood out against Notre Dame)…

1) Had Notre Dame had a pocket QB who decided to throw downfield with any skill, that QB would have connected with Claypool for 3-4-5 TDs against Farley this game. But Notre Dame’s passing game is so simplistic, so contained and safe…Claypool would blast off the line and beat Farley in a sprint but then Notre Dame would use that as a decoy to open the field underneath Claypool…or when Book did attack Farley, he underthrew it every time…which allowed Farley to make up the needed step to knock the play away.

Having difficulty with Chase Claypool is not a major crime, but it is a sign of what Farley is going to face in the NFL…and I didn’t see any ‘wow’ (or anything awful) watching him against Claypool.

2) More damning is – Farley gets beat a bunch on slant routes. More worrisome, I see Farley getting beat whenever quality WRs cut a route left or right. Farley is not an ace going left or right mirroring quality WRs…he’s not terrible, but I’m not sure he’s top 10 overall great for the NFL Draft with this issue.

Where Farley is much better, and it’s why people like his 2-minutes of tape they watch, is straight line speed, or stop-starting to go backpedal deep in coverage or race forward on a stop route. He covers the deep balls and short stop routes well, and can jump simple stop routes nicely…but you can lose him with a good cut inside or out. He might be better suited for zone coverage.

I don’t mean to make it out that he’s terrible in coverage. I just am pointing out/seeing some concern items…concern for a top 10 overall draft pick type prospect. My gut tells me – Farley is not walking into the league like a C.J. Henderson…ready to be great day one.

Farley has draftable skills/features: Great size at 6’1-2”/205+. He fights hand-to-hand well. He moves up-and-down/backwards-and-forwards at a high level. He has nice coverage numbers and metrics overall.

But Farley also has some concerns: Disinterested tackler (not a major crime, and we’ll look at the numbers in a moment), not tested by great college QBs/offenses in the ACC (never faced Clemson)…but facing UNC and Notre Dame, he did well enough though not ‘wow’. ACL in 2017, back issues 2019…not totally clean medically.

My summation would be: Caleb Farley is a legit NFL prospect, but I think he’s more ‘good’ than ‘great’ when trying to evaluate whether he’s worth a top 10-15 type NFL Draft pick. I’m not sure that he warrants that.

The possible excuse for why I might be wrong: He had the back spasms/issues in 2019, and supposedly was playing with them a lot of the season. Perhaps, he’s got more to give but didn’t want to get tangled up in tackling as much in 2019. I could see that, maybe, he moved a little smoother in 2018. I’m open to Farley being a bit better than I’m scouting…that there’s an upside with health.


Caleb Farley, Through the Lens of Our CB Scouting Algorithm:

 -- 20 total tackles in 10 games in 2019…that’s pretty low for a guy who got the ball thrown in his area a lot more than most top corners would. He tackles well enough when it occurs, but he’s definitely not looking for extra tackle opportunities…and that’s not totally damning for a college CB prospect. That can/usually does change at the next level.

  -- #2 in the ACC in interceptions and pass defended in 2019, and it seemed like QBs respected him a bit – but I was also surprised at some going after him. Just the feel of 2019, I didn’t see full out respect for him on tape. Maybe it would have shown if he had played in 2020.

 -- Returned some kicks early in his 2018 (first season of play). Showed some moxie there. Wasn’t a great return man, but not bad.

Combine/Pro Day Projections:

6’1”+/205+, 9.25” hands, 32” arms

4.4s runner with a 7.0 +/- three-cone. 

*There is rumor (as of this posting/editing that Farley ran in the 4.2s at the EXOS Combine 2/27/21…I don’t believe it. 

The Historical CB Prospects to Whom Caleb Farley Most Compares Within Our System:

The Isaiah Oliver comp is interesting…I hadn’t thought of it before seeing this, but I see some Oliver in Farley – bigger, fast back-and-forth, not as great keeping up with all agile route runners. A solid corner but not a great corner for the NFL.

CB Grade



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Cover Rating

Speed Metrics

Agility Metric

Tackle Metric





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*The ratings are based on a 1–10 rating scale, but a prospect can score over 10.0+ and less than 0.0

OVERALL RATING -- We merge the data from physical measurables, skill times/counts from the NFL Combine/Pro Days, with college performance data available on pass coverage/tackles, etc. and grade it compared to our database history of all college CBs, with a focus on which CBs went on to be good-great-elite in the NFL. We found characteristics/data points that the successful NFL CBs had in common in college, that most other CB prospects could not match/achieve.

Scoring with a rating over a 7.00+ in our system is where we start to take a CB prospect more seriously. Most of the future NFL successful college CBs scored 8.00+, and most of the NFL superior CBs pushed scores more in the 9.00+ levels...and future NFL busts will sneak in there from time to time. 10.00+ is where most of the elite NFL CBs tend to score in our system analysis.

COVERAGE -- A combination of on-field data/performance and physical profile data

SPEED -- Measurables from a perspective of straight-line speed, burst, etc.

AGILITY -- Measurables for lateral movements, quick cuts, body type, speed, etc. 

POWER -- A look at physical size, tackling productivity in college, other physical measurables. One of the side benefits/intentions here, is to see which CBs may be more of a model for a conversion to playing safety successfully in the NFL. Also denotes CBs who are more physical/will have higher tackle totals...over pure speed/coverage CBs.

2021 NFL Draft Outlook:

Farley is a top 10-20 prospect for everyone, and I don’t think there’s anything football-wise that will change that. He’ll be taken top 10-15 likely.

If I were an NFL GM, I have an interest in Farley…but not a burning one. I like him. I’ll take him at a certain point, but I’m looking for ‘elite’ here and I just didn’t see it with Farley. I admit, he has characteristics which could mean he’s more high-end for the NFL, but with all my data and research I’m more ‘B’ than ‘A’ feel from his prospect grade in my mind. I’d pay a ‘B’ price for him. He’s the first CB prospect I’ve fully scouted, as of this writing…I feel like I will see better ones ahead. 

I was more impressed with Central Florida’s Aaron Robinson at the Senior Bowl, than I was Farley’s work in this research – but that’s not saying Farley is a bad prospect. 

NFL Outlook:   

Likely drafted to start right away and he has the skills to contribute early and then grow into a nice/steady, perhaps ‘forgettable’ good cornerback. I see more positives and upside potential, but I do see some red flags to debate and compare with the other top CB prospects available.