Raiders Draft

Raiders Draft: CB A.J. Terrell Rising Up Boards

A.J. Terrell, the six-foot one-inch corner out of Clemson, could be a prospect the Las Vegas Raiders play opposite of second-year corner, Trayvon Mullen.

Terrell’s three-year college career ended with him playing in two National Championship games, where general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden scouted and ended up drafting players from. In last year’s draft, the Raiders found the prospect they wanted, Clelin Ferrell, and drafted him higher than analysts had projected him to. Terrell could have a similar storyline.

Trending Upwards…

Recent reports indicate he is quickly ascending teams draft boards. This could cause Las Vegas to select him at either No. 12 or No. 19 and in turn, fill in their biggest hole, another cornerback besides Mullen. Terrell also played at Clemson, a program the Raiders love to draft from. The aforementioned Mullen ended up being a very good value pick in the second round last year, and is projected to be their number one corner heading into Vegas. Mullen and Terrell both played together in college and were actually very close friends.

Related: Raiders Offseason Recap Part II: Free Agency Signing

Terrell is a player that could be the third or fourth cornerback drafted on Thursday and will likely be available with either one of the Raiders’ first round picks. The Clemson cornerback has a tall but skinny frame and is a very athletic. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, which ranks eighth out of all corners this year.. Being a 6’1″ prospect with a fast 40-yard time is very reminiscent of Jalen Ramsey, the Rams superstar player, whose ball-hawking skills and good man-to-man coverage show every now and then in Terrell’s game. However, Terrell doesn’t have the red flags Ramsey does regarding trash talking and ego. Ramsey also ran a good 40-yard dash time, finishing in 4.41 seconds, very similar to Terrell’s 40 time.

Raiders Draft: Terrell’s Best Quality?

Terrell’s best quality is his man coverage; he played in very high-pressure games with the Tigers, including one of his best performances against Alabama in the 2019 NCAA Championship. Terrell started off the game by getting an elite pick-six in which he read quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s eyes and jumped in between two receivers in order to get the interception. Not many players can go into the biggest game of all of college football and immediately make an eye-popping play. Terrell also played great coverage on Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith amidst the blowout that Clemson put on the Crimson Tide.

The ex-Tiger is also not one to back down from tough competition as he played in one of the toughest conferences in the ACC and played against Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson in the 2020 NCAA Championship. Terrell has great length, ball-hawking skills, and has proven himself in high pressure situations making him a prospect the Las Vegas Raiders could select in the 1st round.

While Terrell does have great man coverage, he also lacks a few skills that hold him back from being a top prospect in the upcoming draft. He lacks the hard-hitting trait some corners have in the NFL and is not an aggressive tackler, which hurts him when he needs to tackle bigger wide receivers and tight ends. His tackling was exposed when the Tigers faced off against Chase and LSU, when Chase burned Terrell for 200+ yards and two touchdowns. On the other hand, Terrell never backed down and played until the end when he eventually slowed Chase down in the second half.

With a little bit more toughness and better form tackling, A.J Terrell could be a star in the NFL.

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