After being named an All-Pro, Falcons CB AJ Terrell still seen as underrated

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The new regime in Atlanta has to be incredibly grateful for Thomas Dimitroff’s final parting gift. In the first round of the 2020 draft, the Falcons selected AJ Terrell with the No. 16 overall pick, and it has turned out even better than they had even hoped.

Terrell enjoyed an impressive breakout campaign in 2021 and was predictably rewarded with All-Pro honors, even if he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl. He’s become everything an organization would want in a cornerback. Not only is he excellent on the field, but Terrell also possesses the intangibles that can’t be taught. During a media session after the team’s first voluntary workout, Terrell told reporters one of his goals this year is to “be that ultimate leader on the defense.”

The trail of receivers Terrell left in his wake last season is quite impressive — holding Deebo SamuelJaylen Waddle, and Corey Davis to 0 yards in their respective matchups. Moreover, he only surrendered 19 yards to Michael Gallup and 24 yards to Stefon Diggs, who is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in the game.

The Falcons know what they have in Terrell, and the league isn’t far behind; after all, he was named an All-Pro. Still, the national media is recognizing him as a player who isn’t getting the love he deserves. Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire named Terrell as one of the most underrated players in the NFL.

The Falcons took Terrell out of Clemson with the 16th pick int he 2020 draft, despite the fact that the most recent on-field memory of Terrell was the fact that Ja’Marr Chase absolutely lit him up in the 2019 CFP National Championship. The Falcons no doubt gave Terrell a mulligan on the presumption that Ja.Marr Chase lights just about everybody up, which has proven to be true. In his rookie season, Terrell allowed 71 receptions on 102 targets for 901 yards, 301 yards after the catch, five touchdowns, one interception, and an opponent passer rating of 109.2.

Less than optimal. However, Terrell had a complete reversal of fortune in 2021, allowing 29 catches on 66 targets for 200 yards, 93 yards after the catch, three touchdowns, three interceptions, and an opponent passer rating of 47.5. Only Rasul Douglas (the guy right above Terrell on this list) had a lower passer rating allowed among starting cornerbacks. Terrell also had 13 pass breakups, which ranked fifth in the league.

It is wild to be considered underrated after being named to football’s most prestigious All-Star team, but Terrell is deserving of all the love. He is already one of the game’s premier corners.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire
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