David Amerson to Redskins: How Does Cornerback Fit with Washington?
The Washington Redskins scored big with their first pick in the 2013 NFL draft, when they landed David Amerson. The hybrid corner/safety will allow the defense to use more man-coverage concepts, to support multiple blitz pressures.
Amerson is a natural fit for a press scheme. His 6'1", 205-pound frame and 32-inch arms allow him to keep receivers in front.
He jams receivers at the line and often forces them to re-route. This is vital in disrupting the timing of a pass play.
It also plays a crucial role in aiding a pass rush. When receivers run into a zone scheme, quarterbacks who read the look, often know the windows they are aiming for.
Quick throws and a patient temperament can then destroy zone concepts and nullify a pass rush. In contrast, man coverage might be risky, but it does reward a blitz.
Quarterbacks tend to pause in the pocket when they see a receiver locked up in tight coverage. This is particularly evident when a receiver is pressed and can't gain separation.
That decreases the window a quarterback has to aim for. It also sends a passer scrambling through his reads.
It's at that moment that a successful blitz usually gets there. That's the kind of dynamic between pressure and coverage the Redskins have striven for under defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
The results haven't always been pretty. It's still difficult to forget when Haslett's full-house blitz was beaten on 3rd-and-21 by Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.
To make his bold pressure schemes work, Halsett needs corners who can win in press. They must stay locked onto a receiver long enough for the blitz to get to the quarterback.
At his best, Amerson has that capability. He can play off-techniques and force outside routes into the sideline, giving a quarterback little room to aim for.
However, his size lends itself best to more physical coverage. He also has a real instinct for the big play and snatching errant throws.
His CBSSports.com draft profile highlights Amerson's big-play skill and physical potential:
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.
Aside from his value on the outside, Amerson could be a nice fit as a deep safety. Again his size, tenacity and eye for the ball recommend him to the position.
The Redskins have a definite need for a true playmaker in deep coverage. Deploying Amerson as a free safety in sub packages would be an excellent wrinkle to challenge offenses.
It would be similar to the way the New England Patriots have utilized Devin McCourty. A full-time move to safety could help mask some of the deficiencies in Amerson's game.
He's not the most agile defensive back. Flexibility is a concern, although that could really be said about any big corner.
He also endured a mediocre 2012 campaign, after snaring 13 interceptions in 2011. That type of sudden dip in form, may raise questions about consistency.
However, if the Redskins scheme him right, Amerson could be a steal. That means tweaking the coverages to allow more man-cover principles.
Haslett used a lot of 2-man looks last season. That called for deep safeties with man coverage underneath.
That's an ideal balance to allow Amerson to flourish and offer better support to Haslett's blitzing schemes.
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