Report card: Falcons earn a B for first-round pick

The Falcons, with a gaping hole in the secondary, in a slight reach selected former Westlake High star A.J. Terrell, who had a stellar career at Clemson.

The Falcons cut their top cornerback Desmond Trufant in the offseason and needed to replace him.

Terrell is big (6-foot-1 and 190 pounds) and fast. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the NFL scouting combine. He was the second fastest of the 15 cornerbacks.

» MORE: A.J. Terrell on being drafted by Atlanta

Only Florida’s CJ Henderson, who went ninth to Jacksonville, ran the 40-yard dash faster at 4.39 seconds.

The knock on Terrell, who was a four-star recruit, is that he gets too aggressive and grabs too much. This was the same problem that former Falcons cornerback Robert Alford had.

The Falcons must believe that new defensive back coach Joe Whitt can coach him out of that bad habit that could lead to penalties.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said they entertained moving up and had “loose discussions” with teams, but did not make any firm offers.

After Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah went to Detroit with the third pick and Henderson, there were differing opinions on who was the next best corner.

» MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM: Good thing Falcons stayed put at 16

In the AJC’s position by position series, Terrell was the sixth rated cornerback behind Okudah, Henderson, LSU’s Kristian Fulton, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs and Utah’s Jaylon Johnson.

Bob McGinn of The Athletic had Terell as the fifth rated cornerback behind Okudah, Henderson, Johnson and Diggs.

Dane Brugler’s NFL Draft Guide had Terrell rated sixth behind Okudah, Henderson, TCU’s Jeff Gladney, Diggs and Johnson.

But in the Falcons’ heart, he was No. 3 and so that took him.

The Falcons didn’t put much stock in the horrid showing that Terrell had against LSU in the national championship game.

Terrell appeared to have main responsibility on touchdown passes thrown to Ja’Marr Chase of 52, 56 and 14 yards.

» 2019 REPORT CARD: Falcons earned a D for two first-round picks

“No, that performance wouldn't have dissuaded us at all,” Dimitroff said. “(LSU QB Joe) Burrow obviously had a hell of a game, dropped the ball in a lot. There were a lot of opportunities there that they really capitalized on.

“We look at the full picture, as you can imagine. He had a great — very substantial game in the national championship the year before, Alabama game. He had a number of other games where he really stood out in our minds. So, one game (did) not dissuade us.”

You can’t teach big and fast, so the Falcons may have a pretty strong pick.


Quarterbacks: Joe Burrow leads classTop 10
Running backs: Cam Akers' life lessonTop 10
Tight ends:  Harrison Bryant top prospect Top 10 
Guards/Centers:  Solomon Kindley a late-rounderTop 10 
Offensive tackles:  Austin Jackson's life lesson | Top 10 
Wide receivers: Jeudy or Lamb  | Top 10
Defensive tackles: Brown, Kinlaw stand outTop 10
Defensive ends: A 'generational' talentTop 10
Linebackers: Simmons a position-less LBTop 10
Safeties: Loaded with Georgia talent | Top 10
Special teams:  Georgia's kick-centered | Return with flashTop 10
Cornerbacks:  Jeff Okudah a lockdown CB | Top 10


The Bow Tie Chronicles Podcasts:

Can be found on Google, iTunes and TuneIn

For more content about the Atlanta Falcons:

Follow me on Twitter @DorlandoAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

Atlanta Falcons coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Have a question? Email me at