• Matt Oehl

Following the Rookies: NFC South Atlanta Falcons

With their 1st round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Falcons took Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell. In college he was a man to man corner with very good size at 6'1 and very good athleticism. The Falcons expected him to come in and be a starting corner immediately, replacing Desmond Trufant who is now with the Detroit Lions.

Terrell has played in 6 games, starting all 6, where he missed weeks 3 and 4 due to being on the Covid IR. Through his 6 games played he has been targeted 32 times, giving up 25 completions for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception and 1 pass defended. Giving up a completion percentage of 78.1% and a QB rating of 129.9. So far he has been thrown into the fire having to play on a defense that overall has been awful where he is expected to play man coverage often after barely any training camp and no preseason games and it has shown with his struggle. A struggle to transition from college to the NFL can be expected from corners in normal conditions but given the conditions of this year with Covid, it was almost guaranteed that Terrell, along with many other rookie corners, were going to struggle this year. In college, he was a very good man, press corner where he knew how to use his size and length at the line of scrimmage. Although the game against Ja'Marr Chase and LSU left a bad mark on Terrell, his overall body of work in college was very good and it has yet to be seen in the NFL. He has all the physical tools to be a successful man corner in the NFL on top of his knowledge of the game as seen in his only interception of the year. He was playing in a shallow zone and jumped a short pass to the inside of him. Here he showed his ability to diagnose routes as well as his athleticism to quickly plant his foot and get to the ball. He has no

where to go but up from here and with a coaching change potentially coming this offseason he will continue to get the chance to prove that he can be a starting corner in the NFL.

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