Falcons bolster secondary with AJ Terrell at No. 16

Jamie Schwaberow / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Atlanta Falcons selected cornerback AJ Terrell out of Clemson in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, No. 16 overall.

Atlanta was reportedly aggressive in its attempt to trade up for a defensive prospect but stayed put and fills arguably its biggest need. The Falcons released Desmond Trufant this offseason, while Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield were projected to start in 2020.

Terrell was one of the top coverage defenders in the ACC last season, picking off two passes en route to being named a first-team All-Conference selection.

Prospect Profile

School: Clemson
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 195 lbs


  • Excellent combination of size, length, and speed
  • Plenty of starting experience for national-championship contender
  • Explosive athleticism shows up on tape
  • Long arms stick to receivers when he times press well - can consistently win line-of-scrimmage battle
  • Good interception rate despite not being targeted much
  • Efficient in backpedal while reading quarterback's eyes
  • Good route timing and consistently disrupts the catch point
  • Extremely fluid for his size and can change direction with ease


  • Didn't match up with many elite ACC receivers
  • Bit on double moves a handful of times
  • Must add strength for the pros - not very effective on jump balls or contested catches despite height and length
  • Can give up too much room on release when not jamming receivers

Bottom Line

After three successful campaigns at Clemson, Terrell tests the NFL waters with some desirable traits. His speed and length will lead to plenty of interest, but the First-team All-ACC selection also offers scheme versatility and intriguing ball skills. Terrell is already a high-quality prospect, so imagine what can happen if he adds strength to his frame and discipline while playing in off coverage. He possesses rare fluidity for his size and offers all the tools necessary to develop into a starting-caliber NFL cornerback.

Falcons bolster secondary with AJ Terrell at No. 16
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