Should We Be Doubting David Amerson's Place Atop 2013 NFL Draft Rankings?
Every 2013 NFL draft projection should be taken with a grain of salt. The 2012 college football season will turn current position rankings topsy-turvy. That doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to them. When most of the voices agree about a prospect being elite and one prominent name doesn't, perhaps we should take a closer look to examine the talent in question.
In this case, the subject is North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson. He is rated among the elite 2013 NFL draft prospects and—at least at first glance—for good reason. Amerson's mind-boggling 13 interceptions led the nation last year.
Both CBS Sports and Athlon have Amerson currently ranked as the No. 7 draft-eligible prospect in 2013. NEPatriotsDraft.com, Tom Melton Scouting and Walter Football all have Amerson as the No. 1 draft-eligible cornerback in 2013. Athlon goes as far to call Amerson "the complete package: length, height, speed, instincts, play-making ability and scheme versatility"."
So it does stick out a bit when Tony Pauline of TFYDraft.com and Sports Illustrated rates Amerson as a third-round pick, with the note: "Opportunistic cornerback that’s not as good as his stats would lend one to believe."
Going back to watch the tape with a slight bias to find reasons to doubt Amerson, my evaluation of him was only strengthened. Amerson is physical and uses his long-limbed frame and closing burst to jump routes and come up in run support. He's an instinctive, aggressive corner with the seek and destroy intimidator mentality of a safety. He fits right in with 2012 first-round picks Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick in both body type and style of play.
Perhaps most importantly, Amerson's preternatural ball skills combine with his speed, long frame and leaping ability to make him a potential stopper for the ultra-athletic NFL wide receivers like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. He even looks like a No. 1 wide receiver at times going up for a few of his interceptions. Check it out for yourself:
Unless Amerson's play takes a nosedive this year, his opportunism will keep him firmly in the top half of the first round.
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