Now that the initial shock has worn off and it has set in that A.J. Terrell really is an Atlanta Falcon, I thought you might like to hear a bit more about him from...well, A.J. Terrell himself. Also some analysts outside this fanbase who know his game pretty well, if that’s worth anything to you.
With that in mind, start your morning off right with a little Terrell knowledge and some glowing remarks from a man who apparently grew up wanting to be a Falcon. Let’s hear from the man himself a bit.
”I’m always coachable. ... Being aggressive is key to my game.’’— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) April 24, 2020
A.J. Terrell to ESPN’s Suzy Kolber on becoming a Falcon, being from Atlanta. “It's huge, you know a dream come true. Who would've thought staying right here in the hometown to play for the team, to go in there and just put on for everybody.’’— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) April 24, 2020
Now on to non-Terrell opinions of Terrell. First of all, here’s Thomas Dimitroff on Terrell. He obviously expects Terrell to be the #1 guy here right away, something Dan Quinn is likely to echo despite his outsized praise for Kendal Sheffield.
"This guy is fast. This guy is athletic. We have big expectations for AJ." - Thomas Dimitroff pic.twitter.com/I88zY6cGqX— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 24, 2020
Here’s ESPN analyst and former NFLer Emmanuel Acho breaking down one play he clearly thinks is emblematic of what Terrell can be at the next level, noting his hand usage, tight coverage, and (to counter something Falcons fans have traditionally hated in their corners) his ability to turn his head and make a play on the ball. That’s exciting, at least.
Ok #Falcons, get you a lockdown corner then! AJ Terrell can do it all!! Man or zone!— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) April 24, 2020
What makes him special- #AchoAnswers @ajterrell_8 @TheFalcoholic @DOrlandoAJC #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/9vYDxmKylD
Brett Kollmann, a former SB Nation writer and current film analyst who memorably savaged the Falcons pass rush last year, thinks Terrell is a stellar fit in Atlanta.
A.J. Terrell is a dog. LOVE that pick to Atlanta.— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) April 24, 2020
If you're down on him just because Burrow picked on him a few times, that's a mistake. Fantastic press corner prospect.
If nothing else, Terrell clearly is excited to be here.
Growing up in Atlanta, AJ Terrell said he grew up thinking it would be great to play for the hometown Falcons.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) April 24, 2020
Finally, I leave you with a nice scouting report from Alex Craft of Shakin’ the Southland, SB Nation’s Clemson site and probably the best single source on Terrell’s play over his entire career.
Terrell was the primary backup at Clemson’s premier boundary corner spot as a true freshman in 2017, started at field corner (our CB2) in 2018 and had the pick six on Tua, then took over at the premier boundary spot in 2019. His bad game against LSU was overblown; not to be “that guy” but Chase got away with OPI on at least one TD and he was stellar outside of a handful of plays. He took more snaps than anyone not named Isaiah Simmons and most crucially, provided the elite corner play Brent Venables needed to continually scheme up crazy mayhem.
To me he was no worse than the 3rd best corner in this draft class, and once Okudah and Henderson went in the top 10, it was clear to me he’d go by the time the Raiders made their second pick. I get why many Falcons fans wanted an edge rusher, but this was a much stronger corner class than edge class and the Falcons made the right pick based on their needs. He was the best corner available; a premium position in the increasingly spread NFL and a position of dire need. He’s lengthy, quick, and technically sound. I look for him to put on a bit more strength, which shouldn’t be difficult with his elite frame, and should be a plus contributor sooner rather than later.
None of this guarantees he’ll be a good fit here—as you’ll see a little later, the grades are all over the map for this pick—but I’m cautiously optimistic he’ll be at least a solid starter in 2020. Hopefully the Falcons have managed an unexpected but quality selection at #16, because lord knows the defense needs one.