Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick A.J. Terrell out of Clemson was a reach. Make no mistake about it, he was a big reach, in fact.
Although cornerback was a need with the departure of Desmond Trufant, the interior of the defensive line should have been their main priority. A.J. Terrell is not who fans thought would have been the Atlanta Falcons first-round pick.
Terrell is a talented cover cornerback with good size, but is he worthy of being a first-round pick? He’s long, athletic, and very technically sound. He was also ranked as the 36th overall best prospect and fifth-best cornerback in this draft class.
He also struggled in coverage, specifically against LSU in the national championship game in January 2020, when he got burned repeatedly. Aside from this one bad half of play, he was mainly dominant during the course of his college career.
With that being said, Falcons fans weren’t expecting or advocating for a cornerback in the first round. They easily could have drafted the same position player in the second or third round. Everybody was expecting them to draft a much needed defensive lineman with their first-round pick.
The Falcons attempted to trade up to draft Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina, who would have helped bolster and solidify the interior of the defensive line. This was much more of a need than a potential second-round talent like Terrell being drafted in the first round.
Once Kinlaw was gone, the Falcons could have traded back 10-15 spots, added another second-round pick, and still had the opportunity to draft Terrell if he was on their radar. Most likely he would have still been there for the taking.
Three of the top 20 best available players were available to draft. Instead, the Falcons chose to draft the fifth-best cornerback available. Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn reached big time once again, just like the 2019 draft, when they reached for Kaleb McGary at the end of the first round.
There is no doubt that A.J. Terrell will most likely become a solid starting cornerback for the Falcons and hopefully have a good, long career. He’s just not the type of player who will come in from day one and have an immediate impact like they so desperately need on defense.
This is where the Falcons failed to make a splash once again with their first-round pick. It needed to be and should have been on the defensive line with a player who can wreak havoc and get to the quarterback