A.J. Terrell was simply incredible during his second season as an Atlanta Falcon. He was the team’s top corner week in and week out, locking down each receiver that lined up across from him.
While he might not always travel with the best receiver on the opposing team, there is still plenty of evidence to convince anyone that Terrell is the best player at his position in the entire NFL.
Why the Falcons have the best cornerback in the league
Let’s start with the statistics for the Atlanta Falcons cornerback during his sophomore season, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
So, A.J. Terrell had 13 different games where he did not allow more than 20 yards. Any defensive coordinator would be ecstatic if their corner allowed 20 yards or less in a couple games, let alone 13 games.
And then, of course, Terrell allowed the lowest passer rating and the lowest completion percentage among all NFL corners who qualified. Those are two major stats for a corner and A.J. Terrell dominated both of them.
There are also many other stats you can find that show just how great Terrell was.
Now let’s move to the part of the game that most fans will not see.
What helps out a cornerback the most during a game? A dominant pass rush, and what did the Falcons not have? A dominant pass rush.
In fact, the Atlanta Falcons had BY FAR the worst pass rush in the NFL as they finished the season with 18 sacks, which is downright awful. The 31st team in sacks was the Philadelphia Eagles who had 11 more than Atlanta.
Not to mention, the Falcons did not exactly benefit from great play out of the rest of their secondary and their linebackers.
It is blatant that A.J. Terrell was the least helped-out corner in the NFL last year, and possibly, one of the least helped-out in NFL history when you look at how few sacks Atlanta generated.
Despite receiving no help from his teammates, he was able to put together an absolutely elite year. He simply did not and has not gotten the recognition he deserves. There is no excuse for him missing the Pro Bowl.
We also forget that Terrell is just 23 years old and only entering his third year in the league. He will only get better and that is a terrifying thought for opposing receivers.