Falcons’ A.J. Terrell makes CBS Sports’ top-10 cornerback rankings

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When the Atlanta Falcons drafted former Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell at No. 16 in the 2020 NFL Draft, Falcons fans had mixed reactions. It’s safe to say they are happy about the selection two years removed.

After finishing the 2021 season with three interceptions, 16 pass breakups and 81 combined tackles, Terrell was named a Second-Team All-Pro and Pro Football Focus’s third-ranked cornerback.

Heading into his third year, Terrell is among the best, and CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker has him as the ninth-best cornerback in the NFL, slightly above Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander and Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey.

Here’s what Walker had to say about the former Tiger.

There are a list of things going wrong in Atlanta, but Terrell is far from one of them. He’s the lighthouse to all who look for hope within the organization’s chances to do anything of meaning going forward, and especially in the first year of the post-Matt Ryan era. Not every first-round pick can live up to their hype at the NFL level, but Terrell has, earning a Second Team All-Pro nod in only his second year and quickly becoming a visceral cover corner in the league. In the grand scheme of newcomers battling dynamic veterans for a chance to land on this list, Terrell is swinging both Mjolnir and Stormbreaker — justifiably leapfrogging both Humphrey and Alexander in his first appearance on it.

In his three years at Clemson, Terrell had a combined 101 total tackles, six interceptions and 13 pass breakups. Arguably his most impactful play came against Alabama in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game, when Terrell intercepted Tua Tagovailoa for a pick-six in the first quarter, giving the Tigers an early 7-0 lead.