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.
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…
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 gets a good break on the route by reading the Quarterback and the Wide Receiver to force the incompletion.
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.
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 is off-balance and could not make up the ground to stop the touchdown pass to Hopkins.
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…
- Pre-Snap read
- Post Snap
- Pre Snap in off man coverage
- Post Snap shuffle
- Pre Snap
- 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.
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.
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.
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 out jumps Hopkins and deflects the pass for the break up.
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 gets back and high points the ball for the interception. His athleticism and elite ball skills really stand out on film,
Amerson in man vs Cincinnati.. Sorry for the picture quality but it was the best I could find.
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.
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 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.
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 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