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Why David Amerson Has Everything to Prove in Washington Redskins' Training Camp

Marcel Davis@@Mar_CelDavis24Correspondent IJuly 28, 2015

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 28:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass with pressure form cornerback David Amerson #39 of the Washington Redskins in the first quater during a NFL football game at FedExField on December 28, 2014 in Landover. Maryland.   (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Once viewed as a potential cornerstone of the Washington Redskins' secondary, cornerback David Amerson will enter training camp knowing full well that his NFL livelihood is at stake.

What a difference a year makes, right?

This time a season ago, Amerson was a D.C. darling. The second-round pick recorded two interceptions and 10 passes defensed as a rookie.

On the heels of a strong offseason, he entered training camp in 2014 with aspirations to shadow opponents' top wideouts.

"I want to go out there and whoever shows up in front of me, play them or if they want me to follow somebody, go at him," Amerson said, per ESPN.com's John Keim.

After being limited to watching Amerson just on tape prior to his arrival, head coach Jay Gruden couldn't help but rave about Amerson's ability once he was granted an up-close look at the NC State product, per CSN's Tarik El-Bashir:

Amerson is playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of swag about him and that’s very important. You’ve got have confidence and a little bit of swagger about you. You can see him starting to mature in only his second year. I really like where he is going. I think he’s really got a chance to be one of the top corners in the NFL for a long time if he keeps going on the pace that he’s going.

Then the season started. DeAngelo Hall's season-ending injury cast Amerson into the role he clamored for. And to be kind, he fell flat on his face.

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On the NFL's 29th-ranked scoring defense, Amerson was dubbed the worst defender by Pro Football Focus.

It gets worse. After scouring the PFF databases, which date back to 2007, James Dorsett of SB Nation Hogs Haven found Amerson's sophomore campaign to be one of the worst in recent history, with PFF's numbers to back it up:

Pass Defense AllowedRec AllowedYards AllowedTDs AllowedPFF OverallPFF Coverage
David Amerson 2014 Values6787710-20.2-15.5
David Amerson 2014 Rankings30th Worst30th WorstWorst4th Worst7th Worst
Pass Defense EfficiencyCatch %QB RatingYards/Cov SnapCov Snap/Rec

David Amerson 2014 Values

73.6%140.21.737.6
David Amerson 2014    Rankings22nd Worst2nd Worst34th Worst48th Worst

In response, the team splurged on Chris Culliver in free agency and drafted two defensive backs to pair with Bashaud Breeland.

The most damning move of all, though, was the team's retainment of Hall. Although his salary is non-guaranteed, per ESPN's Field Yates, Washington's reliance on a 31-year-old cornerback coming off two Achilles surgeries stands as an indictment of Amerson. 

You can never have enough depth at cornerback. But whom are we kidding? The team isn't potentially doling out $4 million to have Hall be the No. 4 corner.

Hall won't be a long-term fixture in Washington, though. As such, the team still has a need for a young corner to grow with Breeland and Culliver.

Under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry and general manager Scot McCloughan, Amerson has the fresh slate to start anew and be this player.

But with this comes one reality. Short of the connections that landed him in Washington to begin with, Amerson's future will be decided on what he shows the team in the present. His potential and past failures are out the window.

Fixing Football Outsiders' worst pass defense is undoubtedly a high priority for the Redskins. As such, with training camp on the horizon, the onus will be on Amerson to prove he's part of the solution and no longer the problem.

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