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23 Days of Draftmas: Clemson CB A.J. Terrell

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23 Days of Draftmas continues with a do-it-all cornerback who can add man/zone versatility to the Chiefs secondary.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A very Merry Draftmas to you! We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 23rd. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.


Here’s a full writeup from the 2020 KC Draft Guide about a scheme-versatile cornerback with speed and length, adding to the coverage calls at Steve Spagnuolo’s disposal.

A.J. Terrell, Cornerback

NFL Combine - Day 6 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

6’1” | 195 lbs | Clemson

Atlanta, GA | 9/23/1998

Grade (round): Second

Draft Range: Day two

40 time: 4.42

NFL Combine: 34.5” vertical jump, 129” broad jump, 15 bench reps

2019 Stats: 6 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, 37 tackles

Background: Five-star recruit and top-15 overall prospect in high school. First-team All-ACC in 2019. Third-team All-ACC in 2018. Two-year starter who started two national championship games.

Strengths: Terrell is a versatile defender with experience in man and zone coverage. He is proficient in shuffle, step-replace and press techniques from both the outside and the slot. Terrell has good ball skills and length, which he uses to disrupt the receiver at the catch point. He’s a Brent Venables cornerback who has an alpha dog mentality; he won’t back down from a fight. He uses his length well on the outside, leveraging the boundary on vertical routes and creating some impossible windows to throw into. Terrell is also an aggressive tackler who isn’t afraid to be a willing participant in run support.

Weaknesses: Terrell has stiff hips that can limit his transitional ability. He is also a long strider, leading to some late breaks while tracking receivers. His press technique will sometimes get his head out over his body, throwing his balance forward and allowing receivers a free release. He also misses too often with his punch, which immediately puts him into recovery mode — and when he gets behind the play, he doesn’t show the extra gear to easily recover. While backpedaling, his footwork is inconsistent — and when mirroring a receiver’s route stem, his base gets entirely too wide.

How he fits with the Chiefs: Terrell’s experience in multiple coverages and techniques should make him appealing to Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. This versatility could help him become an early starter in a secondary that needs quality bodies. His fearlessness (and his high level of competition as a starter) should make his transition to the next level easier. While he may not have the top-end athletic profile possessed by others in the draft class, Terrell would fit in with the less agile — but highly intelligent — cornerbacks Spagnuolo has fielded in Kansas City.

Player comp: Trayvon Mullen

Fit Likelihood: High


KC Draft Guide

Love the draft? We’ll cover it here on Arrowhead Pride in its usual format, but if you want MORE in-depth analysis on the draft, we’ve got you covered. Order the KC Draft Guide to get 225+ player profiles, special features, Chiefs fits for each position, and quotes directly from the players on how they would feel to end up in Kansas City!