Should the New York Giants entertain the idea of drafting CB Caleb Farley at 11?

New York Giants, Caleb Farley
Nov 16, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Caleb Farley (3) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are in a good spot with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, even if some preferred they dropped lower. There’s a good chance a top-five player falls to 11, with most boards ranking players like Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons or Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith at the top. However, based on team needs and other factors, you never know which player could fall right into the lap of a team like the Giants, who sit one spot out of the top 10 and will likely take the best player available.

Taking the best player on the board is never a bad strategy, especially since at 11, you can guarantee to receive a top talent that simply falls past the top 10 teams. However, the Giants have a few significant needs that require bolstering, and while I doubt they try to fill a hole at 11, there are a few intriguing players who fit the bill.

This past season, the Giants struggled significantly with their second cornerback spot, opposite James Bradberry. While Bradberry was one of the highest-rated corners in the NFL in 2020, the Giants went through a revolving door at CB2. Players like Corey Ballentine, Isaac Yiadom, Ryan Lewis, and Julian Love all earned starting reps at the position.

The New York Giants could take an interesting route at 11:

There is a chance general manager Dave Gettleman, and head coach Joe Judge want to fill the vacant CB spot with a premium draft pick, which could steer them in the direction of Alabama star CB Patrick Surtain II, or Virginia Tech standout Caleb Farley.

For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on Farley and what he offers an NFL team. Having opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, Farley’s most recent tape is from 2019.

There is a lot to like when it comes to Farley and his athleticism as a former quarterback in high school. I like to have players who have different perspectives, and as a former QB, he understands routes and timing, having made the transition to CB. He’s incredibly fast and can make up ground well on go-routes, which is extremely important in the modern-day NFL, as teams push verticals regularly. However, he is a skeptic tackler, missing 21 and 80 career attempts with VT.

Caleb has the perfect frame for an elite man-coverage corner, which is exactly what defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is looking for at CB2. He utilized cover 1, a man-coverage scheme focused on stopping the run 50% of the time while calling plays for the Miami Dolphins in 2019. This past year, he utilized zone coverage primarily, mainly due to a lack of confidence at the CB2 position, free safety, and LB2.

Having a quality man-coverage corner opposite Bradberry would give the Giants the secondary they need to bring more pressure on the quarterback and feel confident they can hold it down in the secondary. Factor in their trio of quality safeties — Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, and Xavier McKinney, and they would immediately have one of the most intimidating defenses in the NFL.

While man-coverage seems to be his biggest problem, it can also be seen as his biggest con. He has only taken 58 snaps in his career as press/man coverage corner, so his sample size in the category is limited.

In addition, Farley rarely takes his talents into the slot and pretty much aligns at the same spot every play. With Bradberry opposite him, that shouldn’t be a significant problem, but you’d like to have a bit more diversity in his game.

Lastly, as a 6-foot-2 and 207-pound corner, he can handle bigger receivers and hold up again speedsters. I predict he might have an inconsistent first season but will develop nicely with good coaching. The Giants offer him a great place to land, so if they want a high upside corner, Farley is a solid option. It is also important to note that he has dealt with injuries in the past, and it should be a worry for teams.