Breaking Down David Amerson: Is He The Right Pick for The Redskins?

| May 3, 2013 | 30 Comments

Leading up to the NFL Draft if you would have asked me if the Redskins would select David Amerson with the 51st pick I would have laughed it off and listed a few other cornerbacks they should look at instead. Nothing personal against Amerson but I spent most of the pre-draft process looking for a player who could slip in the draft but had potential as a “shut down” cornerback or dynamic playmaker that could dominate as a nickel back.

The first two tapes I watched on David Amerson were vs the Miami Hurricanes and the Tennessee Volunteers. What I saw was a talented player that gave up a lot of big plays and didn’t play in the slot, after two games I didn’t see the guy I was looking for. Shortly after the watching those games everyone from Mike Mayock to Bucky Brooks echoed what I thought I saw on film, that Amerson was a boom or bust player with some really bad tape from 2012.I believe Mike Mayock even said he had never seen so many vertical routes given up by a cornerback.Once the “experts” co-signed what I saw on tape that was enough for me to close the book on Amerson and I made up my mind that he wasn’t a good fit for the Redskins, Or so I thought.

Sometime around 8pm on April 26th, 2013 the Redskins showed how smart I was and Selected David Amerson as their first pick in the 2013 NFL draft. I did what everyone does in 2013 when you want to vent your frustrations to the masses and took to twitter. My first tweet after the pick was “Son of a bitch”.. I try to keep the twitter pg-13 but nobody is perfect.Once I calmed down my next move was to spend the next seven days analyzing, possibly obsessing, over every play I could find of Amersons career at NC State. I started out disgruntled but then this Kevin Hart stand up popped in my head about trying to pick up women with car seats in your car…

In a weird way Kevin Hart was responsible for getting me to focus on the positive in Amerson’s game and not the negative, and I found a lot of positives that have completely changed my opinion of the pick and the player.Let’s find out what changed my mind and why I feel David Amerson can be a pro bowl player for years to come for your Washington Redskins.

Lets start with an overall video package listing some strengths and weaknesses in Amerson’s game…

One of the things that stood out to me in the video was this graphic.

Amerson Weakness graphic

It’s not the first time I’ve seen or read a scouting report that says Amerson struggles at the top of his back pedal,In fact it shows up on film a lot vs double moves and the vertical routes he gave up in 2012. Amerson’s issues at the top of his pedal look to be balance, weight transfer, and accelerating out of his stem when driving on underneath routes vs good route runners and faster Wide Receivers. Most people will chalk up Amerson’s flaws to eye discipline and call it a day. my feeling is eye discipline, and trying to compensate for the issues transitioning out of his pedal lead to him getting beat deep.

Lets check out some film…

Amerson vs Hopkins Play 1

In this shot David Amerson is defending the 11 yard square in vs DeAndre Hopkins With 2:37 left in the second quarter. The idea of this timing route is for Hopkins to eat up the space between him and Amerson and drive him into his back pedal to create enough separation to inside for the completion.

Amerson vs Hopkins break up

Amerson gets a good break on the route by reading the Quarterback and the Wide Receiver to force the incompletion.

Amerson vs Hopkins

On 2nd down & 10 with 2:31 left in the second quarter Clemson will use the same play but with Hopkins will run a double move on Amerson.

amerson vs nuke 2

The pump fake by Boyd and In cut by Hopkins is enough to get Amerson to break on the route. Hopkins gets vertical as soon as Amerson bites.

amerson vs nuke ankles

Amerson is off-balance and could not make up the ground to stop the touchdown pass to Hopkins.

amerson missed tackle

Nobody likes missed tackles and Amerson is too talented to be whiffing on ball carriers like this. The main reason Amerson misses tackles is because you can not tackle what you can not see. he needs to pick his head up and keep his eyes on his target. Amerson’s physical talent is not an issue, but he needs to clean up technique flaws to be a better all around Cornerback.

So why did I completely change my opinion on the Washington Redskins picking David Amerson? Simple, The Redskins cornerbacks do not back pedal.The coverages used by the Redskins are heavy in shuffle/pattern match techniques that enable the Cornerbacks to play with their eyes on the Quarterback while always being in a good position to make plays on the football. The Redskins main coverages consist of man trail, off man, zone, with some press/bail ( player decision ).

Here are a few examples of the shuffle technique used by the Redskins…

No Bump 1

  • Pre-Snap read

no bump1b

  • Post Snap

no bump 2

  • Pre Snap in off man coverage

no bump 2b

  • Post Snap shuffle

no bump 3

  • Pre Snap

no bump 3b

  • Post Snap  shuffle

Anytime you can take a player and not only hide one of his biggest weaknesses but almost eliminate it all together that is a win in my book.  The consensus among the scouts and draft niks is Amerson excels in zone, off man, and man trail coverage concepts, the same main concepts in the Redskins coverage schemes.

Now that I know Amerson will not be backpedaling a lot, if really at all in Washington, it was easy to re-watch all of his games looking for specific areas that mimic how he would be used with the Redskins.  I came away thinking Amerson was a pretty impressive cornerback who could thrive in the Redskins secondary.

amerson vs nuke td save

Here we have Clemson going for a shot play with a double move route concept for Deandre Hopkins vs David Amerson. On this play Amerson uses a shuffle/ slide technique  (Like he will in Washington ) instead of a backpedal.

amerson vs nuke td save 2

Hopkins breaks  down trying to get Amerson to jump the  in route so he can get vertical for 6. Amerson  plays the concept well while reading the Quarterback and Hopkins.

amerson vs nuke td save 3

Boyd trusts Hopkins to make a play vs Amerson and puts the ball up for grabs. Amerson keeps himself in between Hopkins and the goal line, gets square easily, and puts himself  in position to make a play on the ball in a jump situation.

amerson vs nuke td save 4

Amerson out jumps Hopkins and deflects the pass for the break up.

Amerson vs S.Alabama

S.Alabama will run a single route play pass on 3rd & 1, 10 NC State players will sell out vs the run. Amerson is the only player to recognize the play action and bails to cover the Tight End.

Amerson vs S.Alabama 2

Amerson gets back and high points the ball for the interception. His athleticism and elite ball skills really stand out on film,

Amerson vs cinnci

Amerson in man vs Cincinnati.. Sorry for the picture quality but it was the best I could find.

amerson vs cinnci 2

Amerson shows off his leaping ability, long arms, and  ball skills for the interception. Quarterbacks have less room for error with a guy like Amerson on the field because he makes the windows a little smaller to fit the ball in.

Amerson vs wheel 1

Clemson will run a post wheel combination vs NC State in the cover 3 on 4th and 18. The Wide Receiver across from Amerson will run a post route which Clemson hopes pulls Amerson to the middle of the field, opening up the sideline for Andre Ellington on the wheel route.

amerson vs wheel 2

Amerson bails to his zone keeping his eyes on the Quarterback and reading his shoulders.  At this point Amerson is baiting the Boyd to throw this football.

Amerson vs wheel 3

Ball is in the air and Amerson gets in between Ellington and the goaline and gets square to make a play on the football.

Amerson vs wheel 4

Amerson shows off his play making ability by high pointing the football and turning over the Clemson Tigers with the interception.



looking back at last year I feel like Amersons size and ability to play the football could have turned around a lot of plays last season …

All this talk about David Amersons physical ability but what about the mental part of his game ?  Watch the video below to learn about Amerson in the film room and the work he puts in to set up Quarterbacks.

Welcome to Washington D.C. David Amerson, It is great to have you on the team.

P.S. I really didn’t mean the son of a bitch comment.. Nothing personal #HTTR

Filed in: FILM ROOM

Dude is Josh Wilson #1 nd u must not of watched D Hall play any. He is a gambler. D Hall got way more than Biggers too.I jus wantd to say kno ur facts b4 u post an idiotic comment like the 1 u jus posted


Today - 10-18-2012- Pro-Football focus noted some jaw-dropping statistics from DeAngelo Hall. When he has been targeted, opposing quarterbacks are completing 72% of their passes, for a QB rating of 94.3 They surmised that he was a terrible corner.

Listening to espn980 right now, "The Sports Fix" are killing him for these stats. They've apparently known for years that he can't cover..

Pro FF thinks that DHall is the 3rd worst CB on our roster behind Wilson and Biggers.

I would not be shocked if Amerson and Crawford came on and played well this preseason that they might let DHall go.

Kevin Grant
Kevin Grant moderator

Pro Football Focus is not a accurate measure for coverage stat period. Have discussed their issues they have grading DB's & there are many.

I've been over Halls year 3-4 times & pff has a lot of errors in his rankings & stats. You don't like hall so anything that is a positive you won't agree with.


Fair enough. We'll see if he performs this year over his average to be low average play over the past 5 seasons. Lol

At least this year we are getting Hall at fair market value and not overpaying for him.


What? I'm sorry, I don't understand any of that.


I wonder how Amerson feels about playing for a team with a very racist nickname.

Kevin Grant
Kevin Grant moderator

This isn't the place for a history lesson...


Oh boy! I hope the media doesn't ask rookies that. It's not their fault


Nice piece, but I think the biting on routes is more related to biting on routes...not if he is back pedaling before he bites.

Also, you didn't cover his bad run tackling.


Chris Wilson is a way more efficient corner than DHall. Wilson allows less receptions, less first downs and less touch downs than Hall. The only thing Wilson doesn't do better is create turnovers but that's because Wilson worries more about having sound technique, and keeping the wr from catching the pass, rather than being like Hall and gambling every play and many times getting burnt because he guesses wrong. Wilson shut down Torrey Smith last year.

Hall couldn't even find a job on the open market this year and had to take less money than EJ Biggers to play here. It's pretty clear the rest of the league does not feel the same way as biased Redskins fans do towards one of the worst starting cbs in the NFL- DHall.


@Avbanig I'm sorry bro, but Wilson can't cover anyone really. When he goes against anyone with a name like Steve Smith, he gets cooked on every single play. I do think Wilson is good, but he's not better than Hall. Also, just so you know, Hall only gave up three touchdowns all year Wilson gave up 8. Also, Hall had job offers from all across the team. 


Where'd you get the TD stat on them?

Pro football focus has Wilson ranked in the middle on TD and first down % given up.

Hall is on the bottom. How many TDs did Hall give up vs Boldin? Seems like 2 or 3 in that game alone


He shut down Torey Smith last year and Torey Smith lit up Champ Bailey.

The Panthers game was one mental mistake in an entire season. No doubt he messed up in his assignment in TE zone, but it was a mental and communication break down.

He's technique is better than Halls. He just doesn't create the turnovers like Hall does so people love hall for his 4 or 5 forced turnovers a year but he gives up more receptions, more yards, more first downs and more TDs every year. Wilson gets 2 or 3 turnovers a year, I'd take him over Hall.


Oh and Wilson allows less yards on him.

DHall lets wrs go too early in the zone because he tries to undercut underneath routes.

Everyone loves to blame the safeties (which is fair) but when you have a cb who leaves his man go too early in the zone into the safeties zone, it's going to create an open WR because the Safety can't get there fast enough to cover up Hall's gambling mistakes.

Sean Taylor couldn't have covered up for how poorly DHall plays sometimes in coverage


Nice work. I think I was like  you and got sucked in to what some pro scouts were telling me about Amerson (they weren't too impressed). I went back and watched a couple of his games and the cushion and back pedal are what concerned me most. Love his physicality though and his smarts. I've got him penciled in as a day 1 starter. Partly because he'll deserve it, partly because Wilson won't


Amerson & biggers might start but Hall will get his picks.picks, when giving free reign. He'll find a way to the football.


I'd rather Hall focus on not giving up a reception every 2 out of 3 passes or worry about not getting burnt for a TD than to only care about gambling all the time for picks


Corners get burnt, no different than Qbs getting baited. Its all a gamble, and trusting your help.


No doubt but Hall is 2nd in the league as far as starting cbs getting burnt. Lol


From your comments on Twitter, I thought you were just trying to look for ways to rationalize a pick you didn't like but you made a believer out of me. That was a quality breakdown of his game, I'm excited to see Amerson on the field. 


Hope he at least is the 3rd CB

Avbanig 1 Like

Very good break down. I always liked the pick, but I love it now!

Kevin Grant
Kevin Grant moderator

Kid has all the tools to be a beast in the right system. I think he makes a push to start alongside Hall at some point this season.


Alongside? If Hall doesn't play more consistent, I think there is a good chance he is replaced during the season by Amerson or Biggers.

Hall seems like more of this teams past from the Vinny years, rather than part of the teams future of the Shanahan years.


It's true. Hall did play better after the Ravens game. Hopefully he can play like that all year and I think we will see the best out of DHall this year because its a contract year for him. If hall ever wants to get another multi year contract in the NFL again, he's going to have to perform a lot better this year than he has the last 4 years. Hall hasn't had a solid season (all the way through) from start to finish ever, that I can remember. That's why the raiders cut him mid season in 08 and when he came here he played better because he wanted a new contract, then Vinny overpaid for hall instead of waiting and giving that $ to the more deserving Carlos Rogers.

I also have to ask what starting caliber NFL Free Safety do we have on our roster right now?

We drafted two rookies- yes- but it shouldn't be expected that Thomas nor Rambo are going to come in and be good right away at one of the hardest positions to transition to in the NFL as a rookie.

If Meriweather stays healthy, that's an upgrade over Doughty and Gomes splitting time and maybe Jordan Pugh or Bernstine take a jump this year and lock down the starting job at FS but I'm not holding my breath on any of that.

Rich Tandler said if the season started today and Meriweather is healthy, our starting safeties would be Doughty at SS and Meriweather at FS and Matt Bowen said the same thing. Then, Rambo and Thomas would be learning and developing behind those vets as the back ups.

If the question is: Is our safety play going to be better than last years if Meriweather is healthy all year?

Then the answer is a definite YES

If the question is: Is our safety play going to be good and top half of the league where we really thing these guys are playing like NFL starting caliber safeties and good players all year long?

Then the answer is NO.

Doughty is Doughty. A smart player, good leader, great tackler, he knows the defense as good as any player on our D and knows where to be at all times. He's a liability in coverage though and is strictly a SS that you want to keep close to the line of scrimmage almost as an extra linebacker.

Meriweather is better than Doughty in coverage but he's not really a great cover safety either. Meriweather is better served as a SS also. Playing closer to the line of scrimmage, being a blitzer and sure tackler, covering tight ends, not covering up for the Cbs on Wrs deep down the field as a center fielder.

Gomes is similar to Doughty

Pugh seemed like he was decent at playing like a free safety last year but we really don't know enough about him to know if he can be the answer there for us.

Bernstine, Thomas and Rambo all are enigmas at this point. They have NO experience and scouts and coaches believe they could be free safety times and play in space as a single high center fielder but it remains to be seen. Thomas seemed to play more as a SS type in college, Rambo was the one who played more as a FS. Bernstine flashed some last preseason as a FS but we'll have to see how he looks coming off his serious knee injury.

I like what we did in the draft at safety for sure but to say this year we have the NFL starting caliber safeties that are going to be better than what we had last year and they will be able to cover up Hall's gambling mistakes at this moment is a bit premature IMO.


Dhall had a rough year but played big down the stretch. With nfl caliber safety's he might have his best season yet.

Kevin Grant
Kevin Grant moderator

Hall's job isn't in jeopardy at all.Starter spot to be had is Wilsons.


  1. [...] Re: Draft wrap-up 2013 Nice break up and explanation why David Amerson is a good pick for Redskins. I actually feel better about hi, after reading the article. Breaking Down David Amerson: Is He The Right Pick for The Redskins? [...]

  2. [...] Amerson is a good pick for Redskins. I actually feel better about him after reading the article. Breaking Down David Amerson: Is He The Right Pick for The Redskins? Last edited by GridIron26; 05-04-2013 at 01:30 [...]

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