SOTT Draft Profile: David Amerson
In this installment of the SOTT 2013 draft profiles we look at David Amerson cornerback from N.C. State, who had 13 interceptions during the 2011-2012 college season. In order to find out more about Amerson we enlisted the help of David Sanders of Backing the Pack, a site dedicated to the Wolpack.
Tale of the Tape
Weight: 194 lbs.
Can you give us some background on how Amerson ended up at NC State?
Amerson was the rare recruiting coup for the now-ousted Tom O’Brien and staff. A local product and four-star recruit out of Greensboro Dudley High School, Amerson gave a verbal commitment to Notre Dame before reneging late in his recruitment and signing with the Wolfpack. The opportunity to play right away intrigued Amerson, who did indeed get on the field as a true freshman, taking over as a starter at corner before his first season in Raleigh was through. He started 9 games as a freshman, and though he went without an interception, he earned a reputation as a big, physical corner and his promise gave Wolfpack fans hope that a beleaguered secondary could soon become a strength.
What did he mean to the Wolfpack football program?
Amerson was in many ways a microcosm of the Wolfpack’s promise and problems. For one thing, he was the type of recruit that cost the previous staff their jobs simply because there were not enough blue chip guys like him. He was the caliber of recruit State fans felt the program should get on a regular basis, but the previous staff did not get Amerson types enough to be consistently competitive.
Moreover, Amerson’s ups and downs typified the program’s lack of a steady climb to relevancy. Led by Amerson, a veteran secondary, Mike Glennon, and a senior-laden offensive line, the Pack were thought to be a contender in the ACC this year, only to limp through a disappointing 7-6 season. He was great in 2011, but Amerson was beaten deep far too often in 2012, singlehandedly costing the Wolfpack wins against Tennessee and Miami.
Ultimately, Amerson meant frustration to the football program and its fans, and I think State supporters are split pretty evenly as to whether or not they would want him to return for his senior season. It’s remarkable, really, how he went from everyone’s favorite player to scapegoat in a matter of a few games.
13 interceptions during the 2011 season, how does that happen?
One word: pressure. In 2011, both of N. C. State’s interior linemen, J. R. Sweezy (an exceptional athlete for his size who was moved to offensive line by the Seahawks and became a starter right away) and Markus Kuhn, were drafted, as were linebackers Audie Cole and Terrell Manning. The foursome combined for 17.5 sacks in 2011. That interior push along with unrelenting blitz pressure from the linebackers result in a lot of hurried throws, and Amerson was the beneficiary. He also did a great job of film study, something that made his gambles rooted in logic. Another factor: sticky hands. Amerson will pick anything he can touch; his hands are truly on par with any wide receiver.
What are his strengths and weaknesses on the field?
As noted above, Amerson has great hands. At 6-3, he also has excellent and rare size for the cornerback position. After 2011, it seemed he had nothing but strengths, but without the consistent pressure of a veteran front seven, he, and the entire secondary, was exposed in 2012. He does not have elite speed, he seemed to become less willing as a tackler over his career, and his gambling style, while resulting in the occasional highlight reel interception, too often resulted in a quick six for the Wolfpack’s opponent. The Wolfpack surrendered 25 pass plays of 30 yards or more in 2011, 111th in the FBS, and most of those went right over Amerson’s head.
Is he a press or zone coverage corner back?
Amerson would likely fit best in a zone coverage scheme, where his lack of elite athleticism would be less likely to be exposed. While he has played some man in college, N. C. State corners rarely played press coverage, so lining up at the line and trying to jam receivers may not be a skill he possesses. Regardless of the system, if he does not learn to play within the scheme and avoid freelancing, he will not last long at the next level.
How do you see Amerson projecting at the next level?
Amerson cost himself a lot of money in 2012. After his breakout season in 2011, he would have been a first round pick had he been eligible for the draft. But in 2012 Amerson looked a step slow at corner, and he is not the big hitter/sure tackler that one would expect at the safety position. Unless he surprises with a sub 4.5 time in the 40 at the combine, I expect he slips to at least the third round and disappears into obscurity after a few seasons as a backup corner and special teams player.