One ACC Network analyst thinks Clemson’s A.J. Terrell should be a starter in his first year in the NFL.
Terrell is looking to become the ninth former Clemson cornerback drafted by an NFL team since 2010 this Thursday. Some think the he could go off the board in the first round on Thursday night when the 2020 NFL Draft begins.
The last Clemson corner to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft was Tye Hill, who was selected No. 15 overall by the then St. Louis Rams. Last year, Trayvon Mullen went No. 40 overall in the second round to the Oakland Raiders.
“He is a big corner with great range and length,” said former Clemson offensive lineman and now ACC Network analyst Eric Mac Lain.
Terrell stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds. He ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He is a physical corner coming off the line and is very disruptive to the timing between a quarterback and a wide receiver.
“That makes A.J. the picture-perfect press-man corner when you add his physicality at the line of scrimmage,” Mac Lain said. “He has great hand placement and violent hands when he is striking those wide receivers.”
A First-Team All-ACC selection, Terrell played in all 15 games in 2019 for Clemson, while recording 34 tackles. He also had two interceptions in helping a Clemson defense that finished fourth nationally in passing defense, third in scoring defense and sixth in total defense.
Terrell, who played a big role in the Tigers’ return to the national championship game last year, had six interceptions in his Clemson career, to go along with 20 PBUs.
“When you turn on the tape, you might not see the normal ball-hawking tendencies that you see from some cornerbacks, but there is no doubt that A.J. is always in the right position,” Mac Lain said. “He is trying to use his hands. He is very physical in coverage and does a great job when that 50-50 ball is coming through the air. Being in the right position, being in the right place and making it very difficult for that wide receiver to touch the ball.”
In all, Terrell played in 44 games and started 30 of them at Clemson. The defensive back had a pick-six in the 2018 national championship game against Alabama. He also had a career-high eight tackles. Clemson went on to beat Alabama that night and claim the national championship.
“Because of the scheme A.J. comes from, and because of those physical attributes we just spoke about, there is no doubt that A.J. should be starting year one in the NFL,” Mac Lain said.
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