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NFL Draft Profiles: AJ Terrell

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Does Clemson Tiger AJ Terrell sneak into the First Round?

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

AJ Terrell

6’1

195 lbs

31 1/4” arms

9” hands

NFL Draft Profile

Does AJ Terrell go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft seems to be one of the buzzier questions being asked in the lead up to the draft? But wait, I thought this was the guy who got burned by Ja’Marr Chase in the natty? Twice. Doesn’t he suck?? (this is called sarcasm, non-Clemson fans...)

TERRELL AT CLEMSON

I’m in the original AJ STAN Terrell fan club. Some questioned whether he should be a 5* recruit (and continued to do so during his career), but had 5* written all over his game. This is what I said about him during his recruitment:

We thought coming in he would be a three year player and then off to the NFL draft. That was the case.

As a true freshman Terrell got on the field for 230 snaps backing up Trayvon Mullen at the boundary and also playing the field spot. We predicted in our 2018 season preview for cornerbacks that he would take over as the starter in his Sophomore season and he did just that as the starting field corner. AJ turned in a dominant Sophomore season, culminating in a Pick-6 in the Natty, logging 805 snaps, and 53 tackles (40 solo).

Not many teams challenged him in his Junior year, until the championship game. He played 785 snaps on the season, second only to Simmons on the defensive side of the ball and started all 15 games. In the LSU game, he gave up the shots over the head to Chase that really changed the tenor of the game, but his combine performance and overall film has calmed many of the fears coming out of that game.

Probably a bit handsy for the NFL game and needs to work on jamming better at the line of scrimmage against elite competition. Defensive leadership. Proven winner. No red flags.

WHERE WILL HE GO

Teams wanted to see how he would run and his 4.42 40 boosted his stock that was reinforced after a strong Pro Day (Clemson had their pro day in-person before COVID-19 shut everything down, which really helped AJ since scouts value that in-person eval that a ton of players didn’t get a chance to deliver). The draft will feature QB’s and Offensive lineman first and then WR’s and CB’s. The WR class, however, is so deep that many teams feel like they can wait to grab a quality WR, whereas the DB class is not as loaded.

There are estimates that there could be as many as 5 or 6 DBs going in the first round. That seems insane with such a talented draft class overall, but also consider that teams like the Raiders and Vikings (who really need help at corner and we know how the Raiders love Clemson players) will have multiple picks. Okudah as CB1 is going off the board in the top 3-5 picks. But Terrell has had sustained buzz that is only serving to drive him up boards.

I have Terrell pegged at the very end of the first round as CB3 and going no later than the beginning of the second round. That said, teams in the top 20 are starting to poke around with Terrell as CBs move up as a position group overall. Green Bay and San Francisco at #30 and #31 overall need corner help and provide that 1st Rd cushion for DBs. Regardless—this mock draft year has been all over the place with the uncertainty and the level of talent. It should be a wild first and second round.

Lets look at the competition:

  • Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
  • CJ Henderson, Florida
  • AJ Terrell, Clemson
  • Jaylon, Johnson Utah
  • Kristian, Fulton LSU
  • Trevon, Diggs Alabama

Henderson has recently shot up boards, as well, to most likely go in the top 16 overall. There are holes in his game on film, but the overall package seems too much to pass up. Johnson is long and a serious wildcard. He is the kind of player a team falls in love with and moves up to pick with lots of boom/bust potential. Fulton started off strong, but once his game got dissected more, he has slid a bit (this is added to the concern over his one year ban for cheating on a drug test). Diggs has talent but injury history.

In short, he should go in the end of the first round. No later than number 38 overall.