The Denver Broncos have hired their new general manager and have officially turned over a new leaf. George Paton succeeds John Elway and one of the new GM's top assets is the No. 9 overall pick the team holds in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.
The Broncos could go a multitude of directions at pick 9 but in the hotly anticipated mock draft version 1.0 from NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah (a former scout), the prospect many draftniks view as the top cornerback in the class falls right into Denver's lap.
Pick 9: Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley, CB
School: Virginia Tech | Year: Junior (RS)
I think Farley is incredibly talented and he fills a need for Vic Fangio's defense.
Undoubtedly, Farley would make a ton of sense for Denver but I'd be surprised if Alabama's Patrick Surtain II is the first corner off the board. Jeremiah has Surtain going to Philadelphia at pick 6.
We won't know Farley's exact measurements until the NFL Scouting Combine (however that looks exactly) but his school lists him at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds. One concern with the talented corner is that he opted out of the 2020 college football season, so by the time his cleats hit the grass of the NFL regular season, it'll be on the heels of a two-year absence.
Farley is very, and I mean, very talented. And he'd be an ideal fit for Fangio's defense, which emphasizes zone coverage propensities, disciplined eyes, and good instincts. Farley could thrive in a press-man-centric scheme but Fangio's unique system would fit him well, too.
But Fangio's scheme also demands tackling from its corners. And that's 'non-negotiable.'
Tackling is arguably Farley's least-developed tool in the tool kit but he could be coached up by Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, the latter of whom specializes in defensive backs. Farley does come with the opt-out concern where conditioning and fitness have to be questioned but he also has a torn ACL on his injury jacket suffered back in 2017.
However, Farley is long, athletic, and physical. It wouldn't take him long to catch on with Fangio's defense and shine.
In two years at Virginia Tech, Farley totaled six interceptions and 19 pass break-ups. If he landed in Denver, he could quickly assume the role of No. 1 cornerback, which Paton could be looking for if, indeed, the rumors are true and the Broncos cut bait with A.J. Bouye.
Farley, Surtain, and South Carolina's Jaycee Horn are the corners to watch when the Broncos go on the clock in April's draft. Depending on how the board falls.
For a deep-dive look at Farley and all of the Broncos' most likely options at pick 9, check out Mile High Huddle's 2021 NFL Draft Primer which debuted Friday night. It's hot off the press and embedded below.