After cutting Desmond Trufant in free agency, the Falcons were very thin at Cornerback. Among reports that Atlanta could be trading up within the top 10 to take Jeff Okudah or C.J. Henderson, Falcons fans were certainly expecting a CB to be the first round pick. However, the Falcons failed to make a trade happen. Sitting at 16 were neither of the formerly mentioned players. Yet, the Falcons stuck to their plan and selected a Cornerback. Before we jump into our round one Falcons draft review, let’s welcome in our new member!
The Falcons missed out on Henderson, but he found a great fit elsewhere. Check out where and why here!
On behalf of all Falcons fans, welcome A.J. Terrell to the Brotherhood!
Pros, Cons and Final Grade
Coming out of Clemson, Terrell is a certified man-coverage specialist. Dabo Swinney loves playing his corners tight at the line of scrimmage. He allows his safeties to pick up the receivers if they get past their corner, leading to turnovers. Luckily enough, the Falcons aren’t much different. Dan Quinn loves tight man coverage and having his safeties roam around on top. Damonte Kazee and Ricardo Allen have created several game-changing plays in this system, primarily being one of the Falcons strengths on defense. He has some of the smoothest feet in this class and moves his hips fluidly. Terrell is also proficient in zone coverage where he scored a lot of picks. He is a team player, who will do what he is asked. He’s a fast and pesky player, which is exactly what Atlanta needed.
With the Falcons moving on from corners of their past (Trufant, Robert Alford, Brian Poole) getting solid young players at corner has been a focal point across the last three drafts:
2018 – Isaiah Oliver, Colorado (2nd round, 58th overall)
2019 – Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State (4th round, 111th overall)
2019 – Jordan Miller, Washington (5th round, 172nd overall)
2020 – A.J. Terrell, Clemson (1st round, 16th overall)
Atlanta has established a great young base who could all be phenomenal play-makers for years to come. Sheffield and Oliver have established themselves as solid starters with plenty of potential. Miller had a fantastic career at Washington, though he has played very little. Atlanta has most likely secured their number one corner for years to come, and eliminate a dire need in the secondary.
Terrell has a few problems that could be fixed but will be his downfall if they aren’t. He isn’t the greatest tackler, which could lead to busted plays and big gains if he doesn’t wrap up his receiver instantly. Despite this, he is a willing tackler, so much so that he risks big hits over going for non-risky interceptions. Terrell loved to bait the QBs he went up against, which is something that doesn’t work at an NFL level. He does get handsy downfield, which could lead to defensive pass interference and holding calls. Ultimately, he isn’t the strongest dog in the yard, but he is certainly the scrappiest.
In round one, the Falcons snagged a scrappy corner who has a lot of upside as a starting Cornerback. He has some issues that prevented him from going higher up, but Atlanta has scored on Clemson players before. (His name is Grady Jarrett.) They fill a position of need, and keep their picks for the rest of the draft.
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