The 2020 Arizona Cardinals were an exciting team that exceeded expectations and contended for a playoff spot. In order for the Cardinals to take that next step, they need to put together a quality draft class. With their first pick coming in the middle of the first round, there is no reason they can't land a top talent.
The Cardinals parted ways with former All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson this offseason, so they will be looking to fill that void to ensure their defense doesn't miss a step. With the 16th pick in the 2021 On Tap Sports Net NFL Mock Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select Caleb Farley, a 6-foot-2, 200 lb cornerback out of Virginia Tech.
Meet The Prospect
Caleb Farley opted out of the 2020 college football season because he lost his mother during the 2018 season and stated he couldn't afford to lose another loved one. In the game following his mother's passing, Farley logged two interceptions a sack as his team came away with the win against Florida State. Having watched this game live, it was evident that Farley the best player on the field, and it wasn't close.
He eventually signed with Rosenhaus Sports and NFL super agent Drew Rosenhaus ahead of the 2020 college football season. As his former Virginia Tech teammates were preparing for a season, Farley was preparing for the draft and a future in the NFL.
Farley possesses all the traits you want from a lockdown press corner; athleticism, great ball skills, top-end speed, instincts, and solid size/frame. Simply put, he fits the mold of a modern-day NFL cornerback.
Receivers coming out of the NFL Draft with the size of players such as DK Metcalf or A.J. Brown require coverage from a cornerback with a bit of size to them. I'm not implying Farley will immediately clamp down such threats upon entering the league, but his combination of size and athleticism gives him an advantage over the next guy.
In 23 games for the Hokies, Farley recorded six interceptions, 56 total tackles, 19 pass deflections, and one defensive touchdown. He started beginning in Week 1 of his freshman season and was able to put together an impressive career for Virginia Tech, but his best football is still ahead of him.
Farley does have a bit of an injury history, most recently due to back surgery, but if he can remain healthy he will be a productive corner in the NFL. His instinctive style of play matches up well with the aggressive offensive approaches most teams are now taking vertically on opposing defenses. Farley takes chances, plays the ball like a receiver, is a willing tackler, and has the athleticism and speed to make adjustments on the fly without losing too much ground.
With a strong cornerback draft class this year, I believe that Farley will give the Cardinals the closest thing to Patrick Peterson they can find in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. His style of play, playmaking ability, and overall athleticism are what have gotten him this far, and just imagining him roaming the same secondary as Budda Baker should have Cardinals fans excited. Caleb Farley's upside is tremendous and at 16th overall and the Cardinals should select the Virginia Tech product if he is still available.