NFL Draft: CB Caleb Farley to have surgery, Asante Samuel Jr. gets look

Mar 22, 2021, 2:25 PM | Updated: 2:32 pm

Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies intercepts a pass from Dee Wiggins #8 of the Miami Hurr...

Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies intercepts a pass from Dee Wiggins #8 of the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

It’s clear that the Arizona Cardinals could be looking at filling two starting cornerback spots if they want to keep Byron Murphy in the slot for 2021.

General manager Steve Keim said as much Monday as several high-profile cornerback prospects were set to work out at their schools’ pro days this week.

Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley is among the cornerback prospects who will not be highlighted in the process that replaces the NFL Draft Combine with individual pro days.

Farley, whose school’s pro day would have been Friday, will undergo microdiscectomy surgery on his back Tuesday and won’t work out, his agent Drew Rosenhaus said.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter added that Farley will be healthy by training camp and can still meet with teams Friday.

While microdiscectomy surgeries are outpatient procedures that clean up discs in the back, his absence could raise red flags for the 6-foot-2, 207-pound corner who was one of the top players to opt out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.

Farley posted six interceptions and 19 passes defensed over the 2018-19 seasons. He was widely considered a top-three corner and likely first-rounder before news of his surgery came Monday.

“He’s got the size, he’s a former wide receiver,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on March 1. “He played really well in 2019 as a cover corner, ball-skill down the field, locating the ball down the field. He’s good in front, he’s good behind. What he doesn’t do is tackle well enough.”

With that, Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. could be a player taking this week to move up the rankings.

The Cardinals had at least a defensive backs coach watching Samuel Jr.’s pro day, per Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.

While he graded out well and in nine games recorded 30 tackles with six passes defensed and three interceptions, his size and speed were question-marks.

Samuel didn’t hurt himself by measuring 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds with a 4.45-second 40-yard dash on Monday.

Some viewed him as a borderline first-rounder already.

Arizona holds the No. 16 and No. 49 draft picks.

Big ‘Bama prospects opt out

On Monday, Alabama wide receiver and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith gave his weight (170 pounds) and said he would not participate in his school’s Pro Day set for Tuesday. He suffered a hand injury in the national title game victory this season and has little to gain after producing 23 touchdowns and 1,856 receiving yards in 13 games.

Also sitting out will be receiver Jaylen Waddle — he said in March he expected to run the 40-yard dash — and running back Najee Harris.

For the Cardinals, there is still good news with Patrick Surtain II, who is widely believed to be the top corner prospect in the draft, expected to perform.

Additionally, Arizona can get a look at South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn, a 6-foot-2 cornerback, on Wednesday.

Horn has been frequently linked to the Cardinals in mock drafts.

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