Despite nine starts as a true freshman, N.C. State cornerback David Amerson was very quiet and his only real notable stats was one lone pass breakup, 57 tackles, and a forced fumble. In 2011, however, Amerson had one of the most prolific seasons of any corner in the history of college football.
As a sophomore, Amerson amassed a ridiculous interception total of 13, which was the second highest total in FBS history. He also had 59 tackles and five defended passes. He proved to be a true game changer in multiple 2011 contests and it was fully expected that he would be a sure-fire top ten pick when he entered the Draft.
Then his junior season happened.
His final numbers weren’t really too awful. He had 54 tackles, five interception, and 11 defended passes. Those don’t tell the whole story, however, as Amerson was constantly abused by opponents. His fundamentals were terrible, he bit on double moves, and just constantly looked like he was trying to force similar production as was experienced in the previous season.
In one game, against Miami, Amerson was beat on four passing plays that led to touchdowns and contributed greatly to his team’s loss. His junior season was plagued by him getting duped by double moves, failing to recover lost ground against his man, and just overall being a liability in the defense.
With one mediocre season, one fantastic season, and one horrible season of game tape to his name Amerson has become one of this class’s most talked about prospects. A lot of people were curious to see which game tape his Combine performance would confirm and for the most part he showed great athleticism, including a 4.44 second forty time.
I think Amerson is a great prospect for the Vikings to consider. He is at his best when he is allowed to roam in zone coverage, and he displays great instincts when it comes to jumping routes or keeping the play in front of him, while also proving capable of roughing his man up a bit at the line of scrimmage. He plays the position like a receiver, seldom missing an opportunity to pick off an errant pass, and has solid return skills once he secures the football.
At 6′ 1″ and 205 pounds, he could also end up transitioning to safety at the next level, and rumor has it some teams are projecting him as an NFL safety. I don’t think moving him to safety will be a necessity if he can get some high quality NFL coaching early in his career, as his flat footed play and slow hip turn are correctable issues. If he can become more refined at his craft then he might just become a turnover machine, which the Vikings haven’t really had since the earlier days of Darren Sharper.
Teams that like to man-up there corners, and leave them on an island, are not going to be too keen on Amerson unless they view him as a safety. A team like the Vikings, however, may benefit from his scheme-specific skill set by scooping up a game changing talent with a second or third round pick. He has all of the attributes and skills to be very successful at the next level, and the Vikings might just be the right fit for him to once again fulfill his potential like he did in 2011.