We’ve reached the Jets’ second first-round pick in SB Nation’s 2021 NFL writers’ mock draft, and since they locked up quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2, that frees them up to go in a number of directions with pick No. 23.
Gang Green Nation selected Caleb Farley, cornerback, Virginia Tech.
The great debate in the NFL Draft is whether a team picks for need or takes the best available player. It’s a beautiful thing when the top player still on the board happens to fit your biggest need. That’s what happened here for the Jets.
The current depth chart has recent Day 3 picks Bryce Hall and Bless Austin as starters. Caleb Farley has some injury question marks and opted out of the 2020 season. Perhaps those are the reasons he fell this far.
Still, he projects as a potential No. 1 corner in the NFL. He has all of the physical tools you could ask for. He also has made a tremendous amount of progress in a short time for a guy who is new to the cornerback position.
Farley was an all-state quarterback in North Carolina during high school, and transitioned to the receiver position after enrolling at Virginia Tech. He made the transition to cornerback as a redshirt freshman, and considering that he led the entire ACC in in passes defensed in his sophomore season, it seems safe to assume he’ll continue to learn, grow, and develop as a cornerback with quality coaching.
Nothing opens up the defensive playbook like a corner you can trust to cover one-on-one. A decade ago the Jets had that with Darrelle Revis. Since trading Revis to Tampa Bay, the position has been a problem spot. A 2015 reunion with Revis in free agency went relatively well for only a year before Revis reached the end of the line. The 2018 signing of Trumaine Johnson was a fiasco.
It would be unfair to expect Farley to ever reach Revis’ peak, but he has the chance to be a foundational player in the Jets’ rebuild.