For this draft discussions post, Tiller joined Steve Shoup in a 'Shoup vs Tiller special' and I stepped into a moderator role to keep things under control. Any regular readers will know things between these two can get pretty intense, so I thought throwing them a prospect that they have vastly different opinions on would be a good place to start. David Amerson had a down year in his junior season at North Carolina State in which much was expected from him, having put up an amazing 13 interceptions the year before. He elected to declare for the NFL Draft this year instead of staying in school for his senior season.
Tiller, what qualities does Amerson have that peak your interest in him?
Tiller: I really like the size/speed blend Amerson brings to the table. He was 6'1" 205, with almost 33" arms and 10 1/2" hands at the combine. He ran a 4.44 second 40, had a 35.5 inch vertical, and did 15 reps at 225. These measurables, combined with excellent balls skills, physicality, a smooth back-pedal and hip flexion, and the ability to set the edge as a boundary corner against the run, make him an impressive all-around cornerback.
If I look at just the Tennessee game, where he didn't play well against one of the best receivers in the country, I come away scratching my head, but when I look at his whole body of work, I see the talent that scouts and coaches raved about during his All-American sophomore season.
To me, his mistakes are correctable, and that is the main reason I think he will succeed at the next level. GM's and coaches will all tell you that you can't coach speed and you can't coach size.
The games that you point to are mainly in 2011, are you concerned at all about the performance drop from that year to this year?
Tiller: Yes the drop-off in performance concerns me a bit, but I also want to see how a corner responds when faced with adversity. He came off a bad game against Tennessee, to have a very good game against UConn. As we know, cornerbacks need to have short memories, and Amerson showed me that he can make adjustments, bounce back, and play well a week after one of his worst games.
I also look at his youth, and think to myself that here is a kid I can mold in the image of my team. Now having said this, I also feel his skill set is strong enough that he can learn on the go, rather than having to sit for a year before he contributes. Unlike some corners who have come out in recent years, and may have peaked, I view Amerson as a kid who has yet to even realize his full potential, and to me that is scary in a good way. This kid is only going to get better with better coaching and film study.
Steve, if Jim Haslett is allowed to have his way, the Redskins defense will be extremely aggressive with this blitzing just like they were in the week 17 match up with the Cowboys. Amerson's strengths are playing off-man and breaking on quick routes. Wouldn't that be a perfect fit in the Redskins defense?
Steve: Though I think Amerson could fit schematically with what the Redskins run, I just don't know how quickly he could see the field. This year he really gave up a lot of catches (and yards after the catch, on the underneath stuff, so while it is his strongsuit, I don't think he's NFL ready. He had is only real impressive games versus teams with poor quarterbacks and/or poor receivers. I think he's going to need developmental time if you want to get even above average play out of him.
There's been speculation that some scouts and teams project him as a free safety in the NFL. I'd like to hear your thoughts on how you think he'd perform there and if you feel he'd be better off there.
Steve: At one time I thought free safety might be his best fit, but I no longer feel that way. I think he bites too often on double moves and pump fakes for me to trust him as the last line of defense in a secondary. His poor run support throughout this past season also worries me about him making the transition to safety. I think he just needs to develop as a corner, and hopefully bring value in that capacity.
Tiller: I think he has the physical tools to play safety, but his skill set will be most effective at corner. I like him as a corner who can lock down the opposing teams biggest, most physical receiver. As a tackler, I think he needs to improve a bit in the open field, and I feel that he'd be a bit more risky at safety than he would be at corner.
To wrap things up, what round would you pick him and what round do you think he'll end up being selected?
Tiller: I would definitely take him in the second, and I think he goes no later than the end of the second.
Steve: For me I wouldn't even consider him in the 2nd round due to my questions about his ability to succeed (esp. early on), if he was still available with the Redskins 3rd round pick I'd consider it assuming the other CB's and Safeties I had rated higher were off the board. I'm guessing he'll be off the board with a late 2nd- early 3rd round pick.
So what are your thoughts on David Amerson and who do you agree with more, Steve or Tiller? Join the conversation in the comments section below.