Report: Saints draft target Caleb Farley expected to be ready for training camp

John Sigler
·3 min read

Stop if you’ve heard this before, but a highly talented draft prospect at a position of need for the Saints might be available once they’re on the clock. Expect he has a bit of an injury history. This is a story we’ve heard before; with Ryan Ramczyk in 2017, following offseason labrum surgery, and with Hau’oli Kikaha in 2015, after he had suffered two ACL injuries in college.

And those two players represent the different ends of the spectrum when injury concerns come into play. If it’s a chronic issue, it could end the player’s career before it gets off the ground. Or maybe they enjoy better health after turning pro. So which is it going to be for Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley?

NBC Sports’ Peter King reported Monday that Farley received good news from league doctors during medical rechecks in Indianapolis, where he was evaluated along with 150 other draft prospects. Farley went under the knife in March to repair a back issue he’s been battling since 2019, though he says everything is on track for him to take the NFL by storm. King wrote:

“Farley was told he’d need four months of rehab and recovery after the surgery, and that was the timetable the NFL medics saw over the weekend. ‘I got a lot of positive feedback from the NFL doctors,’ Farley said. ‘The NFL doctors confirmed I would be ready for the season, and they told me this is definitely not a chronic thing.’

Four months from the date of the surgery is July 23. Most NFL camps open July 27. So Farley, the top corner on some boards before his surgery, should be ready to go at the start of camp, per doctors. ‘I plan to be the best cornerback of my generation,’ he said. ‘I just can’t wait to get back in the pads again.’ Expect him to be a first-round corner, still.”

That’s certainly encouraging. Farley started 23 of the 24 games he appeared in for the Hokies, racking up 25 pass deflections and half a dozen interceptions. His game tape is as solid as any other cornerback in the draft class, and he passes any physical thresholds the Saints may have at 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds, with 33 3/8-inch arms and 8 3/4-inch hands (for a 76 1/4-inch wingspan). If he’s healthy, he can start immediately opposite Marshon Lattimore and maybe give New Orleans some long-term stability in the secondary.

But that’s the rub. Farley redshirted his 2017 freshman year while recovering from a torn ACL. His 2019 season was cut short by this weightlifting injury, which has continued to be a problem for him. It’s possible his body can’t hold up to NFL punishment, which is why he’s even projected to be available with the Saints picking at No. 28 overall. Given how badly they need help at the position and his otherwise strong resume, though, it’s very easy to envision New Orleans rolling the dice on him. We’ll see how it plays out in just three short weeks.

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NFL draft history: Every cornerback ever drafted No. 28 overall