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2021 NFL draft: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley to undergo back procedure, miss pro day

Eric Edholm
·2-min read

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, a potential first-round pick in the 2021 draft, reportedly is undergoing a procedure on his back this week and will be unable to work out at his school’s pro day in front of NFL scouts on Friday.

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Farley is a 6-foot-1, 207-pound corner who led the ACC in passes defended (19) in the 2019 season, intercepted four passes and earned first-team all-conference mention despite missing two games with back issues.

Prior to the 2020 season, Farley became one of the first notable college football players to opt out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the injury news, Farley was roundly regarded as a first-round prospect and a possibility to crack the top 10. This procedure, along with a knee injury he suffered as a freshman, put that in doubt and cloud his medical evaluation.

It’s believed that Farley underwent a similar procedure in early 2020 after playing through a pinched nerve in his back for most, if not all, of the 2019 season.

Virginia Tech defensive back Caleb Farley is undergoing back surgery and will miss his pro day. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Virginia Tech defensive back Caleb Farley is undergoing back surgery and will miss his pro day. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Microdiscectomies are considered fairly common, minimally invasive procedures, typically performed to relieve pressure on a herniated disc that might be putting pressure on the spine and causing discomfort.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of many NFL players who have had multiple microdiscectomies and been able to continue their NFL careers.

There are two concerning elements of this, as it relates to Farley. One, the recovery can be slow and painful, although ESPN’s Adam Schefter indicated that there’s a belief Farley should be ready for training camp this summer.

The second big issue is Farley missing his pro day. Opting out after two seasons limited his tape and put more weight on his pro-day performance for NFL teams’ draft evaluations.

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