NAME: AJ Terrell
WEIGHT: 190 pounds
In today’s Chiefs draft prospect profile, we will look into a cornerback who excels in man coverage. That strength, paired with his natural athletic ability, would suit Kansas City well. He faced some difficult matchups that resulted in up and down moments during this past year’s College Football Playoff. However, this player has a great deal of confidence on and off the field. He is not letting the playoff performance hurt him though, as he opted to forgo his senior season at Clemson. Now, let’s get things started with our breakdown of AJ Terrell.
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In man coverage, Terrell has a good sense of mirroring opposing receivers. He uses plus footwork at the line of scrimmage, rather than consistently laying a punch at the receiver’s release. Terrell has encouraging length to press and flip his hips downfield or inside. Overall, his strength is a bit of a question against bigger bodies. Nonetheless, Terrell has the stickiness part to his game.
In zone coverage, he wins by reading the quarterback’s eyes. Terrell uses anticipation and closing speed to leave passers wondering why they threw the ball right to him. In this area, his strength comes from playing the deep third of the field. Terrell’s consistency to stay on top of receivers leads to disruptive results at the catch point.
Terrell has smooth footwork. Yet, it is also the timing he uses to defend receivers, rather than the balanced look. I did not expect the quickness Terrell showed in his backpedal, or when closing down on routes. His hip sink and hip flip are very natural. Watching the quarterback’s eyes can sometimes leave him lost against good route runners. But, Terrell displays a good sense of recovery ability on the outside. It can be a different story on inside routes, however.
In this spot, Terrell does well to play through the hands of opposing receivers. While relying on length, rather than punches in press man, this can result in plays where he becomes too grabby. This will be tested early on in the NFL, though his instincts and confidence could help to lessen the penalties. Terrell is not just disruptive at the catch point. He has a good sense of timing, paired with an impressive vertical, to high point the ball consistently. Lastly, his hands are natural and there were little to no drops when an interception opportunity presented itself.
Is his size a question? A little bit. But, Terrell is just so scrappy and unafraid that you hardly notice it. He has confidence in multiple areas on the field as well. Besides playing in coverage, Terrell has had success with booming hits and blitzing. Teams will also enjoy how willing he is in run support.
As mentioned above, Terrell has had success with booming hits. He does not have the consistency as a wrap up tackler. Instead, he will fly in low and cut out the opponent’s legs from under him. Or, Terrell squares his shoulder up to level players to the ground. If there is a knock on him here, it would be that the feet and momentum can become stagnant. Receivers that make catches in front of him, have given Terrell difficulties, if given allotted room to make a move.
Kansas City wants guys who can press at the line of scrimmage in man coverage. AJ Terrell has the fluidity and smoothness to lock receivers down with that technique. There is a lot to like from him in the open field, despite strength and wrap up concerns. The Chiefs give their DBs ample opportunity cover large chunks of the field. Terrell showed at Clemson that he can cover the field in multiple positions/spots.
Be on the lookout for more Chiefs offseason coverage. Included, will be more draft prospect profiles and free agency topics. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.