In the weeks leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, there was a feeling around the league that the Arizona Cardinals would be looking to acquire a cornerback. The top three at the position, Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley, were all expected to be taken during the opening round. Would any one of those highly-ranked cover guys still be on the board for the Cards when the 16th-overall selection rolled around?
As it turns out, only one out of that trio made it to where Arizona was sitting in the first round. Farley, a talented corner out of Virginia Tech, was there for general manager Steve Keim if he wanted him. Surely the Cardinals would pounce on an opportunity to address one of their biggest needs with the 22-year old prospect.
In what could be considered a minor surprise, the Cards elected to go in an entirely different direction with that extremely valuable pick. Farley was passed over for Zaven Collins, an inside linebacker out of the University of Tulsa. Not to take anything away from Collins, but the general consensus is that Farley would’ve filled a much more pressing need for the Redbirds.
So what was it about Farley (who was eventually chosen 22nd-overall by the Tennessee Titans) that turned Keim off? The problem with the situation began earlier this year, when the youngster underwent back surgery following a deadlifting incident back in March. The medical reports state that Farley will be ready to go when the regular-season opener rolls around, but the Cardinals were apparently unwilling to take the risk.
For the record, Keim and his cohorts did ultimately move up into the fourth round to land Marco Wilson, a cornerback out of the University of Florida. Being that he was drafted 136th-overall, however, it’s difficult to get overly-excited about the former Gator. Only the future will tell if the Cards should’ve taken Farley on the draft’s opening night.