Las Vegas Raiders should target A.J. Terrell in the 2020 NFL Draft

Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders are predicted to select a corner in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here is why A.J. Terrell should be that cornerback.

The 2020 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and the Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to add a plethora of young talent to build upon the foundation Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden have laid down in their now second season working together.

And with five picks within the first three-rounds, they have the ammunition to do so.

The Raiders hold picks 12 and 19 in the first round, and at both picks have been heavily mocked to go cornerback.

The consensus top cornerbacks in this draft are Jeff Okudah, Kristian Fulton, C.J. Henderson, Trevon Diggs, and depending on who you ask, Jeff Gladney, Jaylon Johnson — and last but not least A.J. Terrell.

Of the names mentioned above, Terrell is the best fit for the Las Vegas Raiders and here’s why.


It goes without saying that the main reason you draft any player is based on a mixture of their skill-set, athleticism, and tape. Terrell checks all of those boxes.

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Terrell stands 6-foot-1 weighing in at 195 pounds with long 31 1/4” arms. He performed well at the Combine, running a 4.42 40-yard dash which was fifth-best among cornerbacks, and recorded 129.0” broad jump, also fifth-best among corners.

That athleticism translates to his tape.

Terrell’s man-coverage skills are top-notch. Most people believe C.J. Henderson is the best pure man corner in the 2020 NFL Draft other than Okudah — I believe A.J. Terrell is right there with him.

His ability to mirror receivers due to his crisp and quick footwork at the line of scrimmage coupled with fluidity when flipping his hips to turn and run with receivers is why he shutdown most receivers he faced and quarterbacks largely avoided him.

He did have a bad national championship game against LSU this past season which seems to be what a lot of people remember him for since it was the last game he played, but that was definitely an anomaly.

All of the top corners in this draft including Terrell are known for being press-man corners, but what separates Terrell from the others is his ability in zone which he played a lot of under defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther runs a lot of off zone looks so it is important that any highly drafted cornerback the Raiders select is capable in that regard.

Terrell, of course, does have flaws. He tends to lose balance and struggle to recover quickly enough when receivers break back towards the quarterback on curls or comeback routes.

Both of those are usually shorter routes, but Terrell also needs to add strength and clean up his tackling form so that those short catches don’t turn into big gains.

To be clear, Terrell is a willing tackler which the team has shown to value, but he needs to get better at it which first requires him to fill out his frame.

Team fit

Last year, general manager Mike Mayock drafted three players from Clemson, one from Alabama, and one from LSU. He clearly values players that performed at top programs on the biggest stages.

Terrell has started in four College Football Playoff games and two BCS National Championships. That’s as much big-game experience as a college player can possibly have.

He started opposite Trayvon Mullen in 2018 and if Mullen was able to transition from a Venables defense to a Paul Guenther called defense, Terrell should have no problem either, as he is, in my opinion, a better prospect than Mullen was coming out last year.

He seems to be the type of cornerback that Guenther likes which are tall, lengthy, press-man guys, so that along with the reasons listed above are why I think he fits what Mayock and company are looking for.

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Gathering additional picks

Based on the number of trades Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock made last year, on top of the fact that the Raiders lack a second-round pick, I believe they will be looking to trade back in the first round, likely at pick 19.

Of all the top cornerbacks, Terrell is the most likely to last until the late first round, which is likely where the Raiders would be picking with their second first-round pick in a trade-back scenario. This is another reason why I believe he is the best fit.

Jaylon Johnson out of Utah has been heavily connected to the Raiders, even saying he has a “hunch” that they will draft him. Johnson is projected to be drafted around the same range that Terrell is (late-1st, early-2nd) but I believe Terrell is the vastly superior talent.

It all depends how much better you believe guys like Fulton, Diggs, and Henderson are than Terrell (in my case not at all), but being able to gain additional picks and still select a top-level talent like Terrell holds more value than going with one of the above at pick 12 or 19 in my opinion.


With two first-round picks in a deep wide receiver and cornerback class (the team’s two biggest needs), it’s hard to see a scenario that will not be well-received by the fans and media alike. Unless they do something completely out of left field like draft an edge rusher or offensive tackle.

If the team selects any of the top receivers coupled with any of the top cornerbacks I will consider it a good day. That being said, I hold the unpopular opinion that A.J. Terrell is the best cornerback of the class not named Jeff Okudah.

Next. Las Vegas Raiders 2020 NFL Draft: Top WR target for each round. dark

And with the potential to get him even after trading back and gaining additional picks the Raiders should, as the title says, select the talented Clemson product.