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NFL Draft 2021 Betting: Farley or Surtain II first CB taken?

Patrick Surtain II is one of two potential players to be the first CB taken in the 2021 NFL Draft
Patrick Surtain II is one of two potential players to be the first CB taken in the 2021 NFL Draft
By Zachary Rainey

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One position group that has yet to determine a clear best prospect at the position, as Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II have been neck-and-neck in the odds to be drafted first.

At the current moment, Surtain II and Farley are deadlocked at +110 to be the first cornerback drafted.

The appeal of Surtain II is that he shadowed every team’s No. 1 option on their way to a national championship. It wasn’t the typical dominant defensive unit that Alabama head coach Nick Saban has had in previous seasons, but having a guy like Surtain II certainly helped.

For the film and technique junkies, Farley has been the pick. In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper Jr. has Surtain II being selected by the Dallas Cowboys at 10th overall with Farley going at 12. According to his latest mock, Kiper shares a stat courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information: In 2019 (remember, he opted out of the 2020 season) Farley allowed a completion percentage of 24.4% when he was the targeted defender in coverage, which ranked No. 1 in the FBS.

Farley is a weird one. He’s been better in press coverage than when he’s playing off. It’s usually the opposite for young corners, and at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, he’s going to be a force punishing smaller receivers at the line while being able to take away bigger targets.

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If you truly think the two are even, and that it’s just a coin flip, go with the guy who isn’t having surgery and named after a former NFL cornerback. Patrick Surtain Sr. was a three-time pro bowler from 2002-20004 and was a First-team All-Pro in 2002 and Second-team in 2003.

According to a NFL.com article, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah recently compared Farley to Baltimore Ravens corner Jimmy Smith, but that Farley could be more consistent and reliable when healthy.

The phrase “when healthy” has been virtually an attachment to some players name in sports over the years, guys who have top talent, but was never able to stay healthy when it counted. Back injuries for defensive backs are certainly worth monitoring, so hopefully there’s no setbacks for Farley after back surgery and he’s good for camp.

Surtain II is also a bigger corner; listed at 6-foot-2, 203 pounds. One thing I liked about Surtain II was that he was all over the field and in on tackles, not taking run plays off. In 2019, he had 42 tackles, 32 solo, eight pass breakups, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Jeremiah compared him to Miami Dolphins quarterback Byron Jones. Ironically, Kiper has Surtain II mocked to go to Jones’ former team. Dallas’ defense was in shambles last season after losing Jones, so a defensive back should be atop Jerry Jones’ list. 

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