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The Falcons defense might be lacking talent in some areas, but they do have what looks to be a star in the making in A.J. Terrell at one of the corner spots.

Eleven games into his second season in Atlanta, and Terrell has the highest coverage grade in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

When Atlanta selected Terrell No. 16 overall in the 2020 draft, he fit an immediate need on the defensive side of the ball, but there were those that questioned taking the former Clemson standout so high. Terrell has since started to silence those critics.

"I don't love this pick," CBS Sports Pete Brisco said at the time. "I think desperation forced this pick because they have issues at corner. They saw the first two corners go off the board and stood pat and went corner. There were pass rushers available."

Last week against Jacksonville, squaring off against former Clemson teammate Trevor Lawrence, Terrell was targeted four times, allowing just one completion for five yards in the Falcons 21-14 win.



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“Hats off to Trevor, you already know that,” said Terrell after the win. “Great quarterback. But defensively, we just played as a unit this week. Just came together as one. Everybody just did their job, and came out with the W.”

Terrell noted that it was his first shot at playing against Lawrence outside of a practice setting.

“I ain’t played him in so long,” Terrell said. “I’ve never been really against him for real, live situations, so that was my first rodeo. So, it is what it is.”

Heading into Sunday's matchup with the division-leading Buccaneers, Terrell has recorded 51 total tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception he returned for 35 yards. The second-year cornerback left the Falcons first meeting with Tampa Bat early after suffering a concussion but is looking forward to getting another opportunity to square off with Tom Brady.

“The whole key to preparation is being a step ahead,” Terrell said. “I feel like going into this week, as a whole for the defense, we should be more familiar with everything and be able to play faster.”

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