AJ Terrell matched up with Julio Jones at Falcons camp (Video)

AJ Terrell is expected to make an immediate impact, and he’s passing early tests at Falcons’ camp.

In a move to address their biggest need, the Atlanta Falcons took Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell 16th overall in April’s draft. Expectations are high, even with short time to get up to NFL speed.

The Falcons have one of the league’s best wide receivers in Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley is lined up for a third-year breakout this season. So if a young cornerback is going to be sternly tested in practice, Atlanta is a prime spot–iron sharpens iron.

Early in training camp, Terrell has intercepted Matt Ryan and done well against Ridley in drills. But on Saturday morning, the team released a video of him going one-on-one against Jones and holding his own.

Falcons secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. has spoken highly of Terrell’s work.

“He’s everything a coach really wants as a player, because he’s like a sponge,” Whitt Jr. said on Tuesday. “Anything you give him; he soaks it up and then he goes out there and he tries to do it exactly the way that you asked him to do it…If he can get his skill set to match the hunger that he has and the drive that he’s been putting forth to learning this package and being part of this team, we could have a really good football player.”

AJ Terrell is expected to make an immediate impact

Back in July, via NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, head coach Dan Quinn pointed to Terrell as a leader in the Falcons’ secondary right away.

“Dan Quinn highlighted (him), saying ‘look, hard to know what players look like since you can’t get them on the field, but when it comes to the meetings, AJ Terrell right away is becoming a lead dog amongst that rookie class.’ Dan Quinn looks to AJ Terrell as a leader. If they can get those two guys playing at a high level in the secondary (Terrell and Keanu Neal) … that could be a very good unit, a unit that has been an Achilles heel for them the last couple of seasons.”

There were questions about Atlanta’s choice of Terrell at No. 16, with a bad performance in the National Title game against LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase fresh in memory and the idea he’s a bit of a project overall. But he has succeeded with what’s been put in front of him thus far, and the Falcons seem plenty happy with his work.

Next: Is the next Tyreek Hill in the 2021 Draft?

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