A.J. Terrell, the corner from Clemson, has been selected with the 16th pick in the 1st round.
The Atlanta Westlake High School product is the latest in a long line of Tiger defensive backs in the NFL, as he’s the 9th of the last decade. Terrell is an athletic prospect, and at 6-1, 195, has the size to play right away in the NFL. Let’s see what the city of Atlanta is getting in their new defensive back.
Terrell is an athletically gifted corner, with the previously mentioned size and speed needed to play in the league. A three-year starter at Clemson, Terrell is able to disrupt receivers’ timing on the ball and uses the sidelines well on releases. Terrell is good around the ball, as he caught 6 picks in his career. He’s also a sure tackler.
Terrell does have the size – but it’s not quite where you want it. He has long legs and a high center of gravity, which can cause problems in coverage. Most notably, while he’s fast, he has issues with change-of-direction, including issues with double moves and comeback routes. The speed does allow him to close, but the high center of gravity means that it can take him an additional split-second to regain balance and recover. While he’s got the physical tools, he doesn’t currently have the instincts to play corner at an elite level.
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What the Experts Say
Long, press-man cornerback with thin lowers, but good overall size. Terrell has the foot agility and patience to pedal and mirror the release or jab and ride on it aggressively. He’s an above-average athlete with quick burst to close out space in tight quarters, but he’s not a classic click-and-close talent from off-man and issues with balance prevent sudden stops to shadow at the top of the route. The size and ability to hound 50/50 balls deserve recognition, but he lacks ballhawking traits, which could cap him as an average future starter. -Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
The Falcons continue to bolster their defense. Terrell will be mentored by Ricardo Oliver and Deion Jones, and will have the chance to grow into a great defensive back. Falcons fans are still waiting for Dan Quinn to transform the Atlanta defense into the Southern Legion of Boom. Maybe Terrell is the pick they need to push them over the edge.