Every New York Jets fan has a list of players they’d like to see end up in green and white by the end of the 2021 NFL Draft.
While on the flip side, every Jets’ fans also owns another list of players they’d like to avoid with a 10-foot pole. The first prospect that should be on that list is Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley.
On the latest episode of The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny, ESPN insider Field Yates dropped by to participate in a non-predictive first-round mock draft.
When it was the Jets’ turn at 23rd overall Kimes was on the clock:
“I’m thrilled here if I’m the New York Jets because I have a huge need at corner and a very good one is available: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley. Of course, the questions with him are entirely injury related.”
Field Yates chimed in with this nugget on Farley before moving on:
“He’s relatively new to the cornerback position. In his first game playing corner he intercepted two passes, so he’s a quick study. Assuming the back checks out this guy could develop into a Pro Bowl, All-Pro kind of player.”
“Assuming the back checks out” is a very risky proposition.
Caleb Farley has been dealing with back issues for over two years. He hasn’t played a game since 2019 and during that time span has gone under the knife for two separate surgeries on that troublesome back.
Here are the intricate details on everything Farley has gone through injury-wise and what he’s currently going through via Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
“Caleb Farley was originally was injured while deadlifting in early 2019, herniating his L5 disc and bulging his S1 joint — the spinal motion segment at the base of the lumbar spine that helps transfer loads into the pelvis and legs. He battled sciatica (pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve through the hips and buttocks and down each leg) throughout his first-team all-ACC season in 2019, eventually missing the Hokies’ last two games, and underwent a discectomy in February 2020 to remove a small part of bone. He recovered and resumed training, but opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns and to prepare for the draft. Then, Farley says, he irritated the S1 joint a couple of months ago, leading to the second microdiscectomy last month. Farley still has some weakness in one of his big toes, suggesting a nerve hasn’t fully recovered since the latest procedure.”
All of that medical baggage has complicated what was supposed to be a very simple scouting report. Farley is a top-10 talent in this class if, and this is a big if, he was healthy. Which obviously he hasn’t been and isn’t right now. To take it a step further on top of all these back and nerve issues, Farley also tore his ACL back in 2017 just to throw that on top of the pile.
Some NFL teams think he’ll be just fine and they have no reservations. Although there are several teams who have him completely off their board because of the overwhelming pile of medical questions.
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Despite all the medical questions, there are plenty of teams that are willing to dive into the deep end of the pool and pull the trigger.
For instance, on Tuesday evening ESPN hosted its’ annual NFL Nation Mock Draft, where the 32 NFL reporters play general manager for their teams they cover. When the Carolina Panthers were on the clock, David Newton mocked Farley with the eighth overall pick to his ball club:
Feel like Matt Rhule when he said his favorite Dave Matthews Band song was ‘’You and Me.’’ Controversial. I also expect the Panthers to trade back under this scenario and still have a shot at this position. pic.twitter.com/lMDgKgWr9v
— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) April 28, 2021
Certain teams in the NFL can afford to take risks at the top of the NFL Draft, the Jets aren’t one of them.
The green and white have the luxury of four first-round draft choices over the next two calendar years of NFL Drafts. They have to hit home runs or else they wasted an amazing opportunity to accelerate their rebuild.
Can you imagine if the Jets take Farley 23rd overall, we fast-forward to the middle of next season and he’s played like three games due to injuries? It would be an epic disaster.
Gang Green needs players that can help RIGHT NOW, not later. Not a few years from now. Let a contender with first world problems take the plunge on the talented cornerback from Virginia Tech.
There will be plenty of other players on the board that can help the Jets immediately. They obviously have enough needs to fill, no benefit forcing a square peg in a round hole.