Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune warned of a strong possibility the Chicago Bears might not get a quarterback in the 1st round this year. In fact, they might not go offense at all. Due to a mixture of roster needs and the state of the current draft board, there is a growing possibility the team might have to consider grabbing the best defensive prospect available. Most likely a cornerback.
It seems he isn’t alone in this assessment. Former New York Jets and Miami Dolphins general manager Mike Tannenbaum unveiled his first mock draft of 2021. He had some interesting twists. All five of the top quarterbacks are gone by the first eight picks including Carolina taking Justin Fields despite having just traded for Sam Darnold. Not long after there is a run on offensive linemen and wide receivers.
This would explain his choice for the Bears at #20 overall.
“Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Man, I’d like to address wide receiver — Allen Robinson II is on the franchise tag and could be out of town after 2021 — or offensive tackle, but cornerback is the better move in this spot. For one, Farley carries great value at No. 20, even though there is some risk with him coming off back surgery. And even after bringing in Desmond Trufant, the CB group could use reinforcements.”
What’s interesting is he has the Bears passing on Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins whom many believe is not too far from the same tier as the top three others in the class. Also no receivers went after the 15th pick. So he clearly sees a sizable gulf between the top three and the rest of the class there as well. This is likely what drove him to make Farley the pick. Is it misguided?
Well, yes and no. As Tannenbaum stated, the young cornerback just underwent back surgery on a herniated disc. Anybody who understands the NFL knows back problems have a bad tendency to be a regular issue once they surface. This is why Farley is tumbling down boards after many proclaimed he was the best cornerback in the draft. Somebody worthy of going in the top 10.
Chicago Bears may try to lean on what has brought success
That being the defense. Until they find a quarterback, this may be their only course of action. Andy Dalton is a mild improvement over Mitch Trubisky at quarterback but he isn’t somebody who is going to carry this team to victory. Tannenbaum may have the right idea. The Bears might think leaning on the defense again is the best way to preserve jobs. Especially after they just lost Kyle Fuller.
So is Farley worth the risk? Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared him to former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith. Big, long, and athletic. He has the speed to hang with any receiver he plays against. His problems stem from the fundamental side of things, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Farley was a quarterback in high school and didn’t shift to corner until his freshman year of college. He then played just two seasons before opting out in 2020 due to the pandemic. So he’s still learning the position.
If he’s this good already? There is no telling how much better he might get.
A pairing of him and Jaylon Johnson could give the Chicago Bears arguably the best cornerback tandem in the NFL for years to come. Of course, this is presuming they stay healthy. Don’t forget Johnson has his shoulder problems in addition to Farley’s back concerns. While going defense at #20 can’t be dismissed, it would be a significant risk if he ended up being their pick. Then again, Ryan Pace has always been a gambler.