Atlanta Falcons 2020 NFL Draft grades: A lesson in not letting desperation control the board

Clemson Tigers - A.J. Terrell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Clemson Tigers - A.J. Terrell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Falcons didn’t have a bad draft, but their picks are already being defined by what could have been.

Scouting Report. CB. Clemson. 16. Pick Analysis. A.J. Terrell. player. 879

Leading up to the start of the draft, rumors were swirling about the Atlanta Falcons trading up to take a top defensive back. That didn’t happen, and rather than pivot and adjust their draft strategy in ways that might have produced a better class, Atlanta caved to the desperation needing help in the seconary and drafted A.J. Terrell.

A good pick, but one laced with layers of ‘meh’ thanks to how things should have played out.

Terrell is a top-tier defensive back who fills an immediate position of need. The Falcons need to find ways to beat explosive offenses in New Orleans and Tampa Bay next year — and if we’re getting way ahead of ourselves, hold down the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Terrell seemingly gets the Falcons closer to that goal, but to write him off as the right pick for that reason is incredibly shortsighted.

Had the Falcons took a minute to breathe, they would have realized that another player who filled a need was on the board: K’Lavon Chaisson. If the Falcons had drafted him instead of Terrell, they could have walked away with either Jaylon Johnson, Trevon Diggs, or Kristian Fulton in the second round to fill the need at corner.

A.J. Terrell and Marlon Davis aren’t a bad draft class pairing, but there’s a Doctor Strange-style multiverse somewhere in which the Falcons are looking back at this weekend and wringing their hands over being able to come away with Chaisson and a top corner as anchors on defense.