Greg Newsome II? Check. Patrick Surtain II? Check. Asante Samuel, Jr.? Check. Jaycee Horn? Check.
And now check Caleb Farley off the list.
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has apparently been doing more diligence on the cornerback position for the 2021 NFL Draft class than any other, at least based on the Pro Days that he has attended in person over the past few weeks. Gutekunst has been spotted at Northwestern, Alabama, Florida State, and South Carolina in recent days, likely viewing Newsome, Surtain, Samuel, and Horn respectively; Friday brings the news that he is in Blacksburg for Virginia Tech’s event as well, along with Director of Player Personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan and scout Mike Owen. This effectively completes Gutey’s sweep of the Pro Days for all of the top cornerbacks in this year’s class.
Farley is the Hokies’ top NFL prospect this year, a boundary cornerback with great size (listed at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds) and excellent athleticism to match. In 23 games between 2018 and 2019, he picked off six passes and broke up a total of 19.
The questions about Farley are not about his play on the field, but rather his medical evaluations. Farley redshirted in 2017 after tearing his ACL, then missed the last two games of the 2019 regular season and VT’s bowl game due to a back issue, which resulted in an offseason procedure last spring. After deciding not to leave for the NFL Draft last year after his redshirt sophomore season, Farley then opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.
However, the back issue remains a concern, with Farley reportedly skipping today’s workouts due to another back procedure:
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, a projected first-round pick, will have a microdisectomy Tuesday with noted back-specialist Robert Watkins and will not work out at his pro day Friday, per his agent @DrewJRosenhaus.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 22, 2021
Medical evaluations on Farley will likely determine how highly he goes in April’s Draft, but if the concerns are minimal he could go as highly as the top ten. But should Farley slip and the Packers feel comfortable with his back, he may be a great fit in Green Bay.
With VT’s Pro Day added to Gutekunst’s list, this paints a clear picture of one of the Packers’ biggest priorities for April. Kevin King’s re-signing for 2021 —on just a one-year contract — is an indication that the team very well could draft a corner early, and with some additional compensatory picks in his back pocket, Gutekunst should have some ammunition to move up a few spots if the guy he wants is available into the early 20s.
Who will that top target be, though? Any of these players might be candidates if available at 29, though Farley, Surtain, and Horn in particular could potentially see their names called much earlier. The first round of the 2021 Draft begins in 34 days on Thursday, April 29th.