Skip to main content

Drafting a cornerback, Isaiah Oliver's future, evaluating A.J. Terrell's All-Pro year — Falcons Breakdown 

A.J. Terrell was the star of the secondary this season. The Falcons could add another potential star to their unit in the first-round of the NFL draft.

Editor's note:This story is a part of the Falcons Breakdown series, which evaluates each position group and how it will it look for next season.

AJ Terrell was the star of the Falcons secondary in 2021.

Many via social media joked that the Pro Football Focus Twitter account had become an A.J. Terrell fan page because of how often they posted Terrell's stats. But PFF recognized as many national outlets weren't, that Terrell had established himself as one of the best if not the best cornerback in the NFL.


Terrell was snubbed from the Pro-Bowl despite finishing with an 83.0 overall and 85.6 coverage PFF grades, second to only Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Terrell finished with three games with fewer than 20 yards allowed, had the passer rating (47.5), and the lowest completion percentage allowed (43.9) among cornerbacks.

He finally got recognition when the AP All-Pro team was announced. Terrell was named to the second team for the first time in his career. He and long snapper Josh Harris were the only All-Pro's from the Falcons.

Outside of Terrell, though, there are many questions surrounding the Falcons cornerbacks. Let's dive into those in today's breakdown.

Primary 2021 production:

AJ Terrell: 16 games | 3 interceptions | 16 pass deflections | 81 tackles | 3 tackles for loss | 1 QB hit | 43.9 percent of targets caught | overall defensive PFF grade 83.0

Fabian Moreau: 16 games | 0 interceptions | 11 pass deflections | 61 tackles | 3 tackles for loss | 0 QB hits | 65.8 percent of targets caught | overall defensive PFF grade 72.0

Darren Hall: 14 games | no interceptions | three pass deflections | 27 tackles | 2 tackles for loss | 1 sack | 76.9 percent of targets caught | overall defensive PFF grade 48.8

Richie Grant: Grant is listed as a safety – and Dean Pees has said that Grant still is a safety – but Grant played 192 snaps in the nickel this season and just 50 at safety.

Grant's stats: 16 games | 0 interceptions | 2 pass deflections | 28 tackles | Two tackles for loss | 79.2 percent of targets caught | overall defensive PFF grade 48.8

Isaiah Oliver: Four games | No interceptions | Three pass deflections | 11 tackles | One QB hit | 60 percent of targets caught | overall defensive PFF grade 72.6

Who stays: AJ Terrell, Isaiah Oliver, Darren Hall, Richie Grant

The biggest question of this group is Isaiah Oliver, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Oliver seemed to adjust to Dean Pees' scheme well before his injury, playing some of the best football of his career before injury. The Falcons could potentially get Oliver back on a one-year prove-it deal as Tori McElhaney broke down in December.

On the chopping block: Fabian Moreau

Moreau signed a one-year deal before the season with the team, and played some quality snaps and provided invaluable veteran leadership to this young group, but he also struggled at times. With salary cap constraints and needs elsewhere, Moreau seems unlikely to return.

Biggest offseason question: Will the Falcons use their first-round pick to get another potential lockdown corner opposite A.J. Terrell?

Terry Fontenot spoke in he and Arthur Smith's end-of-the-year press conference about their draft process, emphasizing that he will not reach for Falcons needs. Instead, he will take the best player available like they did with Kyle Pitts – and that didn't turn out too bad.

Many mock drafts have aligned the Falcons with LSU defensive back Dereck Stingley Jr. at No. 8 overall.

Stingley has been rated as the best cornerback in this class, and a can't miss prospect since his freshman season. Stingley had 38 tackles, six interceptions, and 21 passes deflected, earning him First-Team All-America honors en route to an LSU national championship in his first year.

He battled injuries over the next two seasons, but Stingley showed in limited time why he is considered one of the best prospects in this class. He is rated as the second prospect overall behind Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton, per CBSsports.

There are other corners with first-round grades, like Cincinnati's Sauce Gardner and Clemson's Andrew Booth Jr.

Related Content