The NFL draft is all about ascertaining whether the player you're looking to draft will be more of a risk or a reward to your organization. There are some cases, though, where that can be really difficult to determine, particularly with players like David Amerson, a cornerback who can alternate between dizzying extremes.
For his 2011 season, Amerson recorded 13 interceptions, which tied him for the second most in NCAA history. At times he's shown himself to be a turnover machine that can make plays out of seemingly nothing.
Then there was his disappointing senior season, which included a low point where he was beaten for four passing touchdowns in one game. It was a rough year that saw his interception output drop down to five, and it also saw him get burned for long receiving touchdowns far too often.
When he's on his game, Amerson has the potential to be as good as any cornerback prospect in the 2013 NFL draft.
Full Name: David Amerson
Birthday: December 8, 1991
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
High School: Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley
Coming out of high school, Amerson was a 4-star recruit. After playing three seasons with the Wolfpack, Amerson chose to forgo his upcoming senior season and instead enter this year's draft.
Looking at Amerson's stats, his sophomore season in 2011 clearly stands out. That season saw him catch a NCAA-leading 13 interceptions, taking two of them back for touchdowns.
Compared to his sophomore year, the other two seasons were pretty disappointing. It could be argued that in his junior year, he was mostly a victim of his success, because his stats that year really weren't all that bad. Amerson had a career-high 61 tackles that season, and he still managed to get five interceptions.
The big problem with his 2012 season was his propensity for giving up big plays. In one game, Amerson allowed four touchdowns, and there were multiple games where he was burned for long gains.
Weight: 205 pounds
Arm Length: 32 5/8 inches
Hand Size: 10 1/2 inches
40-Yard Dash: 4.44 seconds
Broad Jump: 127.0 inches
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
Pro day: Amerson did not run the 40-yard dash at the Wolfpack's pro day, after running an impressive 4.44 at the combine. He improved his broad jump from 127 inches to 132 inches. He also was able to improve his vertical jump from 35.5 inches to 38.5 inches.
Amerson clearly has impressive speed, and he also has the needed size to be a starting defensive back in the NFL. He will need to improve at coverage skills, though and find a way to become more technically sound.
Measurables and combine results from NFL.com
Amerson won the Jack Tatum Award following the 2011 season, an annual award given to the best defensive back in the country.
His 13 interceptions in 2011 were both an NC State and an ACC record.
He followed up a breakthrough sophomore season with a disappointing junior season, where he was beaten a number of times in coverage. Amerson credits his down year to playing to get interceptions in an attempt to match the 13 he got the previous season.
Amerson played safety in high school. He has the size needed to play that position in the NFL and could potentially project to play there.
Amerson is an interesting prospect, who has shown from his 2011 season that he has a very high ceiling. At the same time, he also hit some pretty embarrassing lows last season, so it's going to be difficult for his eventual team to determine what kind of player they are getting.
Amerson is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft. His play making and ball skills are reminiscent of Asante Samuel. However, unlike Samuel, Amerson isn't nearly as fluid out of his breaks or as technically sound in the fundamentals of the position. Amerison is tall, physical, and some may project him to free safety because of his size, but it is likely that some team will take a chance on Amerson as a cornerback if he can prove that his foot quickness and fluidity are up to par.
Amerson has rare height and length for the position and actually played primarily at safety in high school. He has the size and ballskills for the next level, but scouts are also impressed with his competitive drive to get better, showing vast improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons. And the coaching staff says there is no problem keeping Amerson hungry, as he is one of the top practice players each week. Could prove a fit in a press-based scheme. Highly aggressive defender who intercepted many of his passes reading the eyes of quarterbacks and jumping short routes.
Concerns about his fluidity and straight-line speed. Typically lined up in off-man and zone coverage in college, but his lack of elite speed would make that a difficult fit in the NFL. Aggression makes him vulnerable to double-moves. Amerson was beaten soundly in several-highly anticipated matchups in 2012, which contributed to losses to Tennessee and Clemson.
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.