|Amerson's size and 18 career interceptions make him one of the more intriguing defensive backs in the country. (US Presswire)|
With the NFL increasingly turning to the passing game, playmaking defensive backs have never held more value.
It appears North Carolina State junior cornerback David Amerson is banking on that fact, as he'll be making the jump to the NFL a year early, according to a report. Neither Amerson, nor North Carolina State have yet to publicly comment on the report.
Amerson exploded onto the scene last year, leading the country with 10 interceptions and earning All-American honors for the Wolfpack. As such, he entered this season viewed as a potential top-20 prospect. Amerson's junior season, however, hasn't gone as well as he'd hoped and his stock has suffered as a result.
The 6-foot-3, 194-pound junior saw his pass thefts more than cut in half this year. But if N.C. State's victory over Boston College on Nov. 24 was indeed his final game, he is leaving on a high note -- recording his fifth interception of the year and returning it 55 yards for a touchdown in the 27-10 victory. The touchdown was the third that Amerson has scored off of an interception over his career.
Amerson, who ranks behind just Alabama's Dee Milliner and Florida State's Xavier Rhodes on NFLDraftScout.com's list of the top junior cornerbacks, might have the statistics and size to earn first-round buzz. But he is far from a sure thing to earn a spot among the top 32 picks in 2013.
The lean, lanky Amerson certainly looks the part of a shutdown cornerback, but there remain concerns about his fluidity and straight-line speed. Despite possessing the frame and improved physicality to potentially fit in a press-based scheme, Amerson typically lined up in off-man and zone coverage in college. He's a highly-aggressive defender who intercepted many of his passes reading the eyes of quarterbacks and jumping short routes. This aggression, however, makes him quite vulnerable to double-moves. Amerson was beaten soundly in several highly-anticipated matchups this year, not the least of which contibruted to losses to Tennessee and Clemson in which Amerson was at least partially to blame for four touchdowns scored by the opposition.
With Amerson entering his junior season with so much fanfare, his potential decision to leave early isn't considered a big surprise. The lack of certainly revolving around the N.C. State program after the dismissal of coach Tom O'Brien, as well as a relatively weak senior class of cornerbacks may also play a role in Amerson's decision.
To achieve the high draft grade Amerson (and many fans) expect, the North Carolina State defender might need to ease scouts' concerns about his speed by running well at the Scouting Combine and/or his Pro Day.