Falcons 1ST Round Draft Pick AJ Terrell: What are they saying?

AP photo by Ben Margo / Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of the College Football Playoff title game against Alabama on Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif

680 THE FAN ATLANTA – The Falcons might have surprised a few people, when they went with Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell at pick number 16 of the NFL Draft.

One thing you cannot deny with Terrell, is that he’s played in plenty of huge games over his career. This includes two national title games (one good, one bad).

Yes, Terrell had a tough game against LSU’s top wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Tigers deep threat went for 221 yards on nine catches and two touchdowns.

But, don’t just say that Terrell is going to be a “bust,” because of that game. Anyone can have a down night, no matter how great of a player you are.

Take the good! Like his pick-six against Tua Tagovailoa in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Last I checked, Tua was the fifth pick overall by the Miami Dolphins in last night’s draft. Is he going to be a bust?


Terrell is a great player and was also coveted by other teams as well. Jason Butt of the Athletic reported last night, that the Las Vegas Raiders had their eyes on Terrell, before the Falcons scooped him up.

I can only tell you so much about Terrell. Let some of the people who have watched a lot of his games tell you more.

Mike Detillier: NFL Draft Expert- MikeDetillier.com, Saints Report and WWL-New Orleans (Frequently heard on The John Kincade Show, CBS Sports Radio)

“A.J. has excellent match-up skills due to his outstanding size and length for a cornerback,” Detillier writes in his annual draft guide. “Terrell has tremendous straight line speed and he has really improved in his turn and run skillset. Terrell has a very smooth backpedal technique and he flows well in reverse. Plants and drives hard to the football. His recovery speed is just outstanding and he has tremendous make-up ability.”

These are all things that you would expect to hear for a cornerback drafted in the first round. However, there are always parts of a players game that need improvement. Detillier shares those as well.

“The quick receivers have given A.J. some issues and he is much better playing the ball in front of him than over his shoulders. Has a tendency to reach out and grab a receiver when he gets beat deep downfield.”

William Qualkinbush: Co-Host of Out of Bounds on 105.5 The Roar Clemson. Also part of the Clemson Tigers Network

“AJ Terrell isn’t perfect, but he knows how to use his strengths to offset his weaknesses. His range and tackling make him versatile. A lot has been made of the LSU game, but it’s not like he was beaten badly all over the field. Perfect routes and throws by first round picks beat him. He’s also a reserved guy who works hard, the prototypical quiet tone-setter. Never one problem with him at Clemson. You won’t find anyone with a negative thing to say about him, on or off the field.”

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney: https://omny.fm/shows/cellini-and-dimino/dabo-swinney-clemson-head-coach

“A.J. Terrell is the Deshaun Watson of this group, and what I mean by that is he’s a Deshaun Watson at a different position,” Swinney said, according to quotes distributed from Clemson’s Sports Information Department to AtlantaFalcons.com. “The reason I say that — and this is what I’ve told everybody — is his consistency. He’s handled himself like a pro since the day he got here as far as his maturity, his love of preparation, his mindset, and the type of teammate he is. He’s got unique intangibles to go along with a rare skillset for his position.”

There is no perfect player. The Falcons were not going to find such player last night.

The Falcons picked up a great cornerback. Now, we’ll see how he translates to the next level.

Also, before you trash the pick too quickly? The hated rival Saints wanted him as well…


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