David Amerson is a junior who plays cornerback for the North Carolina State Wolfpack. This season he is walking in with an immense amount of pressure after collecting 13 interceptions last season, an ACC record. After stealing the spotlight last year as a sophomore the only thing standing in his way now from taking his talents to the NFL is another stand out year. Will he live up to the standards he has set for himself, or will he regress?
Size: Long and lanky, those are the words that come to mind when looking at David Amerson. He is listed at 6030, 194 pounds. He is the new breed of big corner the NFL looks like it is moving towards. His length is one of his greatest strengths, but is also the reason some believe he will switch to playing safety in the pros.
Athleticism: Amerson, though big, isn’t known for the lack of athleticism that has plagued so many other big corners. His quickness to the ball allows him to play in NC State’s off-coverage scheme without much worry of receivers being left to field passes cleanly. His leaping ability, and body control are a couple of other attributes he holds in his arsenal which allow him to get his hands on some passes that many others would have no chance at.
Man Coverage: At NC State they run a very zone heavy scheme, but many times there are man concepts that can be found in said coverages. Amerson is able to open his hips and change directions very well when needed.
Zone Coverage: This is where Amerson lives. Playing in zone he is able to read the quarterback and break quickly towards his intended target. It was no mistake last year that he was able to get his hands on so many passes. He baits quarterbacks into throwing the ball right where he wants, and then uses his length and quickness to get there for the takeaway or deflection.
Run Support: Amerson has shown a willingness to come up and play the run. He will try and make the play and not shy away from contact. Amerson’s biggest weakness, in my opinion, is his tackling. He rarely shows fundamental technique, and often times will throw a shoulder into a player, reach, and or dive when trying to take player down. His size should be a benefit as he moves forward, and with some coaching should be able to improve.
Blitzing: I have yet to see Amerson blitz. Not to say that he doesn’t or hasn’t, but if so I have either not seen it yet or missed it. I would think though that he would have the speed to get to the quarterback, but my concern would be how he would fare against oncoming blockers. I believe added upper body strength will be needed for him to be effective in that aspect. Anything else I would need to see first.
Ball Skills: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a corner with the skills of David Amerson when it comes to attacking the ball. It starts with him knowing how to put himself in the perfect position to make the play on the ball to begin with. He plays the ball just as a wide receiver would, attacking the ball at its highest point. His hands are strong enough to hold on to the ball in traffic, and his catch radius is pretty wide.
Intangibles: I don’t know Amerson’s intangibles personally, but have not heard of him getting into any type of trouble, and his aggressive nature in coverage tells me that he is a competitor. When a receiver does make a play, he doesn’t change. Amerson continues to go out there play after play with the same my-ball mentality and confidence that scares quarterbacks, something you definitely want in a premier defensive back.
Overall: David Amerson is the type of rare prospect at the position that you can throw out there and line up across from any wide out, because of his combination of instincts, height, speed, and ball skills. He will need to continue to work on some his technique and fundamentals. As long as he does that along with staying hungry, and doesn’t coast or settle for what he accomplished last season, he will move on to the next level and excel.
Projection: As it stands, David Amerson looks likely to be taken in the top half of the draft. If he is able to improve on last season though, and then time well in the off-season, then he will most likely be taken in the top 5-10 picks. If he doesn’t time well when he comes out then there’s a good chance Amerson will convert to safety, and if so then his value would drop, but not enough to knock him out of the first round.