NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Check out any 2021 NFL Draft analysis and you’ll no doubt see phrases like “could be the top corner in the draft” under Caleb Farley’s name.
But, the Tennessee Titans first round pick out of Virginia Tech was not the first cornerback selected.
And the reason is simple.
Farley’s had two back surgeries, the most recent of which came in March.
Both were to fix a weight-lifting injury he suffered in 2019.
Farley also opted out of the 2020 season, citing COVID concerns and wanting to keep his family safe.
After all of that, I asked Farley what it means to him to have the Titans believe he'll return to be the player he believes he is.
“It makes you want to run through a brick wall for them. To have a team that believes in you and take that so-called chance on you, it means everything. It's extremely special,” says Farley.
And the Titans believe Farley is a special player.
In 2019, he led the ACC in passes defended and finished with six interceptions in 23 games for the Hokies. Not bad for a converted receiver.
“We watched a lot of film on him. He's just a guy with a really cool, really explosive skillset that's going to help our football team," says Titans General Manager Jon Robinson.
The question is when?
Farley says he'll be ready by training camp. The Titans will play it by ear. But the 22-year-old who hasn't played in a game in 17 months is eager to perform.
“You know, I'm just gonna work hard every day and get healthy and everything else will take care of itself."
His patience has helped him through plenty over the last year, especially as he watched his former Hokies teammates play a season without him. But, it was his choice.
“It was extremely difficult. At the time, with the information we had with the virus, I chose to take the cautious route. For the love of my family and how close me and my father was. And I can honestly say I don't regret it."
Now Farley is out to make sure the Titans don't regret making him their number 1 pick.
“I just try to stay true to myself and be honest. And I feel like they picked up on it and it showed. You know, the only way I can demonstrate it to them is to get here and show it to them every single day."