This is the first in a series of looks at the Washington Redskins rookies. We'll start with second-round pick David Amerson, who served as the Redskins' No. 3 corner all season behind DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson. Amerson would enter in nickel situations with Wilson shifting to the slot.
Stats: Amerson played 684 snaps (third most among the corners, nearly 300 fewer than Wilson). Amerson recorded 48 tackles, intercepted two passes.
Highlight: Amerson turned around the Oakland game with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.
What I liked: Amerson loves to make the big play (which can be good and bad). He improved throughout the season and the botched assignments decreased. He seemed to understand where his help was and played accordingly. He also improved by using his eyes throughout the play. In other words, early in the year in man coverage he would turn his eyes to the quarterback after a cut but lose sight of his man. Later in the season that improved. Amerson did not play much press man coverage at North Carolina State, so he had to learn it this season. Amerson needs to be good in this area as his long arms give him an edge. He was impatient in press coverage initially, but again did get better. He was more patient later in the year. Amerson’s long arms led to a good jam and enabled him to disrupt a fade route to Denver’s Eric Decker. He played Decker well, maintaining his leverage and holding him to 42 yards on seven catches (not all against him) as Peyton Manning did test him. Amerson drives well on the ball.
What I didn’t: Amerson was not competitive enough early in the season, especially against the run. He was better in this area than I anticipated after seeing him in college but he was unable to get off blocks to make plays in some games (Philadelphia, Green Bay). He improved in this area by late in the season, though he was not as aggressive as those ahead of him, Hall and Wilson. Amerson had lapses in concentration, which resulted in big blown coverages. He had to learn how to plaster on receivers better during a quarterback scramble; got burned early. There were times double moves burned him because he lost sight of receivers. Other times he did not adjust his coverage responsibilities based on the look. But those decreased as the season progressed. Still, it’s an area I’d wonder about if he becomes one of their top two corners and faces better wideouts on a consistent basis.
Looking ahead: If you’re a second-round pick, you should be able to start by Year 2. I would expect him to get that chance, especially with both of last year's starting corners unsigned for 2014. If he doesn't start that says a lot. Amerson did not consistently match up against top receivers. Amerson has the length you want in a corner, but will he be consistent in a bigger role? More lessons will need to be learned.