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What kind of impact can Falcons rookie corner A.J. Terrell have?


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https://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/35447/what-kind-of-impact-can-falcons-rookie-corner-a-j-terrell-have

 

It didn't take long for A.J. Terrell to impress new Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Morris knew their 2020 first-round pick had the measurables, standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 190 pounds with length. Terrell’s speed and athleticism speak for themselves with his 4.42-second time in the 40 and 34.5-inch vertical.

But what really caught Morris’ attention was the intelligence his new young cornerback displayed during the virtual offseason, when COVID-19 prevented in-person interaction between rookies such as Terrell and the coaching staff.

“Going through a couple of weeks with us and listening to him talk to either [secondary coach] Joe Whitt or [defensive assistant] Chad Walker, he was able to teach back the defense, whichever one was asked of him,” Morris said. “I think A.J.’s attention to detail, his ability to listen and retain information and being able to spit it back out to coaches is what impresses us probably the most already. We all had tests. We all had different online things. We all had different ventures and different avenues of ways to test a guy, and his attention to detail was excellent.

“I think by us setting his goals and his roles going into the 2020 season of playing hard, of being able to be an outside vertical controller and being able to really lock in on his fundamentals and techniques when he’s coached, I think those things will give him the confidence to be a really good player in this league."

Morris and the Falcons are counting on Terrell being an integral part of a defense that struggled at times last season. The Falcons allowed 9.5 yards per attempt on passes to wide receivers last season, second worst in the NFL behind the Raiders (9.6). The Falcons hope the addition of Terrell -- along with beefing up the defensive line with Dante Fowler Jr. and Marlon Davidson -- will help those numbers.

The Falcons cut ties with oft-injured cornerback Desmond Trufant, leaving 2018 second-round pick Isaiah Oliver and 2019 fourth-round draft pick Kendall Sheffield as the primary cornerbacks. Oliver and Sheffield, with 46 combined games and 1,767 combined defensive snaps, are still relatively inexperienced, although they’ll both be counted upon to make major strides this season.

Then, in steps Terrell, a guy who played a major role for a winning program at Clemson yet slipped up in last year’s national championship game against No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow and LSU's array of talented targets.

“Yeah, that was the game that he got criticized for the most and the one that we ended up talking about a lot,” Morris said of Terrell. “It was good because we had a good chance to go watch it with him, a good chance to go talk to him, evaluate and figure out what went wrong, why some techniques changed, what were the reasons. But it was a great learning lesson for him. He played at a high level in the championship game the year before with a pick-six. And this year, he didn’t play as well as he wanted to. He’s got both walks of life, and it’s helped him out a lot.

“His resiliency -- in the game he did not play well, he kept fighting. And that’s a staple in our league. You watch every week. You see corners go out and sometimes you’re just outmatched and outplayed and outgunned, but that won’t define you."

As the Falcons prepare for what is sure to be an unusual season thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Terrell’s development will be storyline to watch. You don’t draft a cornerback in the first round without the expectation that he’ll make an immediate contribution as a starter. The Falcons have touted Sheffield, with his speed and change of direction, as the corner they might rely on the most. And with so much nickel defense played these days, it would make sense for Sheffield to cover a lot in the slot, as he did last season, which would leave Terrell and Oliver outside. The one unknown is what the Falcons will do in their base defense -- will it be Sheffield and Terrell outside, Sheffield and Oliver outside or even Oliver and Terrell -- although it would be hard to imagine Sheffield off the field, considering how much he has been touted.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was a little hard on the Falcons for selecting Terrell 16th overall, saying, “The Falcons reached for a need, plain and simple. ... He was way too inconsistent throughout the season, and he didn't play well down the stretch. He has a tendency to get grabby.” Fellow ESPN draft guru Todd McShay was much more positive in assessing what type of impact Terrell could have.

“He's fluid in coverage, and he has the height and frame to help match up in that division,” McShay said, referring to wide receivers such as New Orleans' Michael Thomas and Tampa Bay's Mike Evans, among others. “Terrell had some mental breakdowns at times, and he can be more consistent in run support. But he is a ball hawk when he is in position with his head around in time. Like many rookies, A.J. might hit some bumps in the road as he's fine-tuning his recognition skills and technique, but he absolutely has the tools to develop into a good starter.”

ESPN analyst Matt Bowen, a former NFL defensive back, also sees the upside in Terrell as the youngster prepares for a division that also includes wide receivers such as Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin, Carolina's DJ Moore and New Orleans' Emmanuel Sanders.

“If I’m defensive backs coach, I want him matched up against the best because that’s the fastest path to development in the National Football League -- to practice and play against the best,” Bowen said. “Now in practice, he’s going to get a ton of reps against top-tier guys in Atlanta [Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley].

“In terms of positioning, I want to see him up in a press position. I want to see him use his length. I want to see him use his physical hands at the line of scrimmage to impact the release and try to stick to the hips of wide receivers. It’s going to be a transition for him and every rookie this season because they haven’t been able to compete during OTAs and minicamp [due to the pandemic].”


Morris fully understands how much of a challenge it will be due to the lack of on-field work, but he’s ready to get Terrell up to speed. Terrell already has gotten in some reps with a group of Falcons on a field in the Atlanta area, and one teammate said, “Looking good for sure, from what I saw.”

Morris is eager to see more.

“He wants to get on the field, where we’re able to touch [receivers], get our hands on them,” Morris said of Terrell. “To be able to go through those situations, I think, will only help him get better.

“Overall, I’m really confident with our evaluation from our scouting department; from our GM Thomas Dimitroff; from Rich McKay, our president; from [head coach] Dan Quinn; from our coaching staff -- Joe Whitt, Chad Walker, Doug Mallory, Lance Schulters -- to myself, that we did a really good job of going out and seeking [Terrell] out in the draft and having him come to us when he did and being able to have a chance to develop him as a man -- and as a football player.”

 

 

 
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2 hours ago, red falcon said:

So tired of the national championship talk.  Kid was solid outside of that but they always want to bring that up. Life lesson people always remember when you "mess up" no matter how much good you do.

The national championship game defines who and what he is.

He has the physical ability to be a fantastic player.

He was in position to make a great play on each of those TD's.

But he lacks the feel, the instincts, to actually MAKE the big play he was in position for.

He will be another in a long line of "never lived up to his potential" schlubs. Before we drafted him, watching the national championship game, I nicknamed him "Victory Road", because he will be the opposing quarterback's route to success. Charles Dimry, Michael Booker, and Tim McKyer will soon have company at the Loser's Table of Disappointment. (McKyer wasn't bad--- he had the misfortune of playing opposite of Deion, so got picked on mercilessly, but still---)

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7 minutes ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

The national championship game defines who and what he is.

He has the physical ability to be a fantastic player.

He was in position to make a great play on each of those TD's.

But he lacks the feel, the instincts, to actually MAKE the big play he was in position for.

He will be another in a long line of "never lived up to his potential" schlubs. Before we drafted him, watching the national championship game, I nicknamed him "Victory Road", because he will be the opposing quarterback's route to success. Charles Dimry, Michael Booker, and Tim McKyer will soon have company at the Loser's Table of Disappointment. (McKyer wasn't bad--- he had the misfortune of playing opposite of Deion, so got picked on mercilessly, but still---)

If he was in position to make plays while playing with a 102 (or 103) degree fever, then sign me up.

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52 minutes ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

The national championship game defines who and what he is.

He has the physical ability to be a fantastic player.

He was in position to make a great play on each of those TD's.

But he lacks the feel, the instincts, to actually MAKE the big play he was in position for.

He will be another in a long line of "never lived up to his potential" schlubs. Before we drafted him, watching the national championship game, I nicknamed him "Victory Road", because he will be the opposing quarterback's route to success. Charles Dimry, Michael Booker, and Tim McKyer will soon have company at the Loser's Table of Disappointment. (McKyer wasn't bad--- he had the misfortune of playing opposite of Deion, so got picked on mercilessly, but still---)

Lol this is wrong. Jamarr Chase abused every single CB he faced last year. That's like saying Patrick Peterson lacks the feel, the instincts, to actually make the big play when he gets embarrassed against Julio. 

But go for it. Stupid. 

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38 minutes ago, vel said:

Lol this is wrong. Jamarr Chase abused every single CB he faced last year. That's like saying Patrick Peterson lacks the feel, the instincts, to actually make the big play when he gets embarrassed against Julio. 

But go for it. Stupid. 

So you think Victory Road will do better against Michael Thomas, the Bucs pair of stud wide receivers, twice each year? Most NFL teams have a receiver or two as good as or better than Chase, as he was in college.

With any luck Marlon Davidson and Grady Jarret can collapse pockets before Victory Road can break down too badly. I LOVE the Marlon Davidson pick.

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29 minutes ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

So you think Victory Road will do better against Michael Thomas, the Bucs pair of stud wide receivers, twice each year? Most NFL teams have a receiver or two as good as or better than Chase, as he was in college.

With any luck Marlon Davidson and Grady Jarret can collapse pockets before Victory Road can break down too badly. I LOVE the Marlon Davidson pick.

He's saying youre stupid for taking one game and putting all the weight there.

Guess what, Michael Thomas in 2018 Playoffs against the Rams, had 4 catches for 36 yards. I guess he has no feel , no instincts. 

The point is anyone can have a bad game. 

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2 hours ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

The national championship game defines who and what he is.

He has the physical ability to be a fantastic player.

He was in position to make a great play on each of those TD's.

But he lacks the feel, the instincts, to actually MAKE the big play he was in position for.

He will be another in a long line of "never lived up to his potential" schlubs. Before we drafted him, watching the national championship game, I nicknamed him "Victory Road", because he will be the opposing quarterback's route to success. Charles Dimry, Michael Booker, and Tim McKyer will soon have company at the Loser's Table of Disappointment. (McKyer wasn't bad--- he had the misfortune of playing opposite of Deion, so got picked on mercilessly, but still---)

Funny that you say that considering that he had a pick 6 in the championship the year before...

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24 minutes ago, runshoot said:

He's saying youre stupid for taking one game and putting all the weight there.

Guess what, Michael Thomas in 2018 Playoffs against the Rams, had 4 catches for 36 yards. I guess he has no feel , no instincts. 

The point is anyone can have a bad game. 

Time will tell. I hope I'm wrong! If I am wrong, and if Victory Road becomes AJ Terrell, please feel free to call me out on it. I am not the type to run and hide. I don't mind one little bit being wrong, if it is to my team's benefit. If he turns out to be a good player, I will gladly take an "l".

I was wrong about Matt Ryan.

I was wrong for opposing the trade up for Juliop.

But more often than not, I'm right.

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6 hours ago, red falcon said:

So tired of the national championship talk.  Kid was solid outside of that but they always want to bring that up. Life lesson people always remember when you "mess up" no matter how much good you do.

“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

I think Evil in this case could be the plays you messed up on(like Freeman missing the block in the Super Bowl). This speaks to what you said...
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1 hour ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

Time will tell. I hope I'm wrong! If I am wrong, and if Victory Road becomes AJ Terrell, please feel free to call me out on it. I am not the type to run and hide. I don't mind one little bit being wrong, if it is to my team's benefit. If he turns out to be a good player, I will gladly take an "l".

I was wrong about Matt Ryan.

I was wrong for opposing the trade up for Juliop.

But more often than not, I'm right.

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This dude is gonna get picked apart, do not be surprised when our D takes a step back and WR avg more then 10 Y.A.C on him. He has bad footwork and avg reach. He plays flat-footed and gets beat easily on inside routes/outs and slants with the shortened off season this doesn't look good at all. 

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5 hours ago, B_Lo_Touchdowns said:

This dude is gonna get picked apart, do not be surprised when our D takes a step back and WR avg more then 10 Y.A.C on him. He has bad footwork and avg reach. He plays flat-footed and gets beat easily on inside routes/outs and slants with the shortened off season this doesn't look good at all. 

 

15 hours ago, OrthoPTSD said:

Matched up on number ones hes gonna get abused, but thats everyone in secondary, as no one is a number one,

Biggest hope for that is Sheffield jump IMO

Oliver improved why cant he. All the success this team has had drafting corners and they fail now? That's not logical.

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6 hours ago, B_Lo_Touchdowns said:

This dude is gonna get picked apart, do not be surprised when our D takes a step back and WR avg more then 10 Y.A.C on him. He has bad footwork and avg reach. He plays flat-footed and gets beat easily on inside routes/outs and slants with the shortened off season this doesn't look good at all. 

Lmao!? What?! Yall really have no clue what you're talking about. Terrell had some of the best feet at CB in the draft. Like yall really are just stupid. I don't have any words other than that. 

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2 hours ago, red falcon said:

 

Oliver improved why cant he. All the success this team has had drafting corners and they fail now? That's not logical.

I'm sure improvement will happen, specifically I see a Sheffield jump which is IMO biggest hope for secondary. I just dont see any of those guys erasing number ones, and certainly Terrell first year

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16 hours ago, vel said:

Lmao!? What?! Yall really have no clue what you're talking about. Terrell had some of the best feet at CB in the draft. Like yall really are just stupid. I don't have any words 

As always just post any video you want of him and I'll show you what I'm talking about and we'll go from there.

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He will play regardless bc 1st round pick even if later pick or undrafted is better.  His college film is from Clemson so played with dominant players so he might not be as good as people think.  Hopefully he is great.  Think Falcons could have gotten a cb later rounds just as good.  Falcons need a pass rush.  Vinny Curry!

Edited by Gonobeast
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