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2020 NFL Draft: Falcons select A.J. Terrell in first round

AP_A.J. TerrellEdit

ATLANTA – With the No. 16 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected former Clemson standout A.J. Terrell on Thursday night. Terrell, a first-team All-ACC selection in 2019 who played three seasons for the Tigers, fills a major need in the Falcons secondary and will be expected to step in and compete for a starting job.

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WHY HE FITS

Terrell checks many of the boxes the Falcons are looking for in a cornerback. Physically, he has all of the tools. Terrell has great size at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and exceptional speed – he clocked a 4.37 40-yard dash at Clemson's pro day.

On the field, Terrell generally plays with good technique (is fluid and transitions well in coverage) and has demonstrated he can make plays downfield (has good ball skills). He's not much of a gambler but has six career interceptions, including a memorable 44-yard pick-six against Tua Tagovailoa and then No. 1 Alabama in the national championship in 2019.

DRAFT GRADES

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com

  • Grade: C+
  • Comment: "I don't love this pick. I think desperation forced this pick because they have issues at corner. They saw the first two corners go off the board and stood pat and went corner. There were pass rushers available."
Apr-15-2019 15-25-49

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Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report

  • Grade: C
  • Comment: "The Falcons have a dire need in the secondary, where Isaiah Oliver and Jordan Miller are currently penciled in as the starting cornerbacks. The problem is that this feels like a 'need' pick. Frankly, there were better players on the board than Terrell."

NFL COMPARISONS

Kyle Fuller: Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports compares Terrell to Fuller of the Chicago Bears.

"Terrell compares favorably to the Chicago Bears' Kyle Fuller, a player who took a few years to reach his ceiling, in our eyes. That appears to be the template for Terrell," Edholm writes.

Pierre Desir: NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein compares Terrell to Desir of the New York Jets.

"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," Zierlein writes.

With the No. 16 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell.

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