The Titans took a chance on Caleb Farley in the latter half of the first round, drafting the former Virginia Tech cornerback at No. 22 overall. Betting on Farley’s talent, the Titans will likely wait on their top draft choice for a time due to an offseason surgery.
Farley’s injury history has been well-documented. Two back surgeries, including a microdiscectomy procedure in March, affected his draft stock. And Farley continues to work his way back to 100% to start his pro career. The rookie corner likely will not be ready to start Titans training camp, Jim Wyatt of TennesseeTitans.com writes.
The high-level talent is believed to be making progress, per Wyatt, who expects a Farley return at some point during camp. But a stay on Tennessee’s active/PUP list to start camp appears likely. Farley suffered a herniated disk while lifting weights before the 2019 season, and while he put himself on the first-round radar while playing through it that year, he was limited to 10 games with the Hokies that year. That first surgery did not completely address Farley’s back issue, leading to the second one in March. That caused Farley to miss on-field drills at Tennessee’s June minicamp.
Farley, who also missed his true freshman season at Virginia Tech due to an ACL tear, represents a key piece for a Titans team that endured a brutally ineffective 2020 season on defense. The Titans have reshuffled their cornerback corps, jettisoning Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, and made Farley their top 2021 investment at the position. Farley joins 10th-year veteran Janoris Jenkins and 2020 second-round pick Kristian Fulton as the key Titans corner cogs. Offseason addition Kevin Johnson retired in June.
Tennessee bet on Jeffery Simmons‘ talent two years ago, when the potential top-10 pick was recovering from an offseason ACL tear, and has seen the 2019 first-rounder grow into one of the league’s top young defensive linemen. The organization is certainly hoping Farley will follow suit at cornerback.