Prospect: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Grade: 6.6 (Grading Scale)
David Amerson is a big, physical ball-hawking cornerback. Produced one of the most productive cornerback seasons in history during 2011. Picked of a NCAA record 13 balls. Possesses massive hands. Whenever he gets the chance to catch the ball he is usually able to secure it. Shows the ability to go up and high point a deep pass or step in front of a receiver to pick it off on the run. Physical presence at corner, delivers meaningful contact after the catch. Will work his way downhill aggressively to wrap up the receiver quickly before the receiver can create extra yards. Amerson attacks the ball in the air. Not afraid to undercut a route or reaching around WR to get to the ball. Has natural ball instincts and finds away to get to the ball. Has a solid vertical leap and long arms, gives him a large radius in which to make plays on the ball. At the combine he was able to answer questions about speed, posting a top level 40 time of 4.44.
As a total package, Amerson has a blend of size, speed and bulk that is rare for the cornerback position. Best suited to play in an off-zone coverage or potentially a safety position where he can keep the play in front of him. Much better when he sees the play and attack angles and routes in front on him. Amerson has great range in coverage, especially after the ball is released. He is able to close any gaps and contest catches after coming a long way. He can match up against bigger receivers in zone coverage as he is able to fight through the body to get to the ball. Attacks the run game from off the line. Can get through or around blocks. Drives hard on outside runs and wraps up consistently when given the shot in the open field.
Amerson really struggles to transition out of his back-pedal. Labors to turn and run vertically. Allows the receiver to separate and run away from him because he is slow to get hips opened. Struggles to stick with receivers out of their breaks. Amerson lacks the quick-twitch change of direction ability to fluidly get in and out of breaks. Quicker receivers can create space with precision breaks. As a result of tighter hips Amerson struggles when playing man coverage.
Doesn’t turn to run with receivers well and seems to lack the trust in his abilities to match up with a pass catcher 1 on 1. Has the speed and athleticism to stick at corner, but due to tightness in hips and inability to play man coverage he might have to make the move to safety, so he can keep the play in front of him. Amerson protects himself from getting beat deep. As a result he gives up too many underneath completions as he gives a large cushion in zone coverage.
Amerson was projected as a top 15 pick after his record breaking Sophomore Season. However, most of his flaws were exposed game one of the 2012 season against Cordarrelle Patterson. Amerson is a ball-hawk in coverage, he can play the ball as good as any DB in this year’s draft. He has instincts to get to the ball and the ability to secured the ball when given the chance. When the play is in front of him Amerson is very good. He can close separation quickly, is a reliable tackler and takes angles to get to the ball rapidly. Amerson comes downhill aggressively to wrap up the receiver quickly after the catch to prevent YAC.
He’s a reliable wrap up tackler against the run and can hold up on the perimeter of the defense in the run game. Amerson is a different story when asked to turn and run. Hips are tight and struggles to redirect fluidly. He doesn’t play man coverage well and gives up too much separation out of laterally or vertical breaks. In the NFL he potentially could move to safety, although I believe he has a skill-set that could keep him at corner in the right scheme. Amerson is no longer in the first round mix, but could still end up being a 2nd round selection.