Julio Jones stole headlines for the Tennessee Titans when the team struck a deal to acquire the All-Pro receiver from the Atlanta Falcons this offseason, and now Caleb Farley will get his first crack at trying to stop the future Hall of Famer in practice. For it was Farley who carried the news cycle in Nashville before Jones did, with the former Virginia Tech defensive back getting the call as the Titans first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and amid concerns about his durability.
Farley underwent another back surgery prior to the draft and started Titans training camp on the non-football injury (NFI) list, but has now been medically cleared after passing his latest physical, the team announced. They’ve also activated both offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo and running back Jeremy McNichols from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, getting needed depth at key positions.
And with that, Farley’s pro career officially begins, along with a need to prove he can stay on the field. An All-ACC talent in 2019, there can be little debate over what Farley can do when healthy. In the aforementioned 2019 season, he racked up four interceptions and 16 pass break ups, finishing his two-year stay with six INTs and 25 total passes defensed. He’d opt out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t do much to hurt his NFL stock.
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Nor did the back surgery in March, with the Titans giving him the nod at 22nd overall.
That surgery wasn’t his first run-in with the injury bug, though. Farley was all set to try his hand as a wideout for the Hokies in 2017 but missed his first year with a torn ACL before being converted to defensive back the following year. He also dealt with recurring back spasms in 2019, despite having a banner season, and he’d miss the final two games of that campaign because of it. He’s hoping his back issues are now behind him and the Titans believe they are, with both sides readying to find out in August and beyond.