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Training camp preview: A.J. Terrell aside, lots left to decide at cornerback

Newcomer Fabian Moreau will challenge returners for playing time

Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell #24 runs a drill during Atlanta Falcons minicamp on June 10, 2021.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell #24 runs a drill during Atlanta Falcons minicamp on June 10, 2021.

A.J. Terrell will start and play as many snaps as health permits at one Falcons cornerback spot. That's a stone-cold lock.

The others are far less certain heading into training camp. There are favorites to play opposite Terrell and in the slot, but coaches could certainly be swayed this summer.

Competition will always construct depth chart, but especially here.

Veteran Fabian Moreau should be considered a frontrunner at the outside cornerback spot. The offseason signing played 60 games in Washington and played a ton in 2018 and '19 . He has spent significant time in the slot as well and could be an option there depending on how the position group shakes out. Quarterbacks had a 73.2 passer rating when targeting Moreau in 2020, far better than some the Falcons used last season.

It seems likely he'll be a factor somewhere in the secondary.


Returners Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver will compete for roles as well. Sheffield could play a significant role after starting a bunch on the outside last season. Oliver hasn't been able to establish himself as a steady performer to this point but has taken snaps inside and out.

One of those two could still end up heavily involved on game day, especially if rookie draft picks Darren Hall and Avery Williams aren't quite ready.

The Falcons could have five cornerbacks on the roster, maybe six, so competition on the back end of the depth chart could be fierce. A more experienced player could be on the outside looking in if they struggle in camp.

The Falcons are remaking their secondary around Terrell, the No. 16 overall pick who had a solid rookie year and flashed potential for better down the line. That became clear when two draft picks joined the position group, and necessary after the Falcons struggled mightily in pass defense last season.

Hall became a Falcon at No. 108 overall and Williams at No. 183. The Falcons certainly hope they can develop into longer-term solutions and help build a young secondary core that can grow together.

The slot cornerback will play a ton, so it's important to have a consistent tackler and physical cover man in that spot. The Falcons have some versatile options there.

As you've read, there's a lot left to decide at the cornerback spot. That's why it will be an important position to follow during camp and the preseason as the Falcons quest to improve play in the defensive backfield.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London #5 during team practice at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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