NFL Combine

N.C. State’s Amerson out to prove to NFL teams he’s better than ’12

jperson@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 25, 2013 

N.C. State cornerback David Amerson (1) keeps his eyes on the ball during N.C. State football's practice Friday, December 14, 2012. The Wolfpack will face Vanderbilt in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN on December 31.

ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— N.C. State cornerback David Amerson admitted he spent last season chasing the NCAA interceptions record.

And he ended up chasing opposing receivers – from behind.

After breaking the ACC record with 13 interceptions in 2011, Amerson was rated the No. 1 cornerback in the draft and among the best players overall. But Amerson’s stock tumbled after he was torched repeatedly in 2012.

He said Sunday he had the wrong approach last season and will try to convince scouts and general managers he can still cover.

“They’ll just have to go back to the film. I can’t change anything,” Amerson said at the scouting combine. “Hopefully they see my good plays outweigh my bad.”

Amerson’s junior year began ominously when Tennessee wideout Cordarrelle Patterson burned him throughout the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta. The game helped vault Patterson to the top of draft boards, and started Amerson’s slide.

“A lot of it was me just beating myself, just sitting on routes. I know I’m way better than that, and I know I could play extremely better,” Amerson said.

But Amerson gave Patterson, a Rock Hill native who could be the first wideout drafted, his due.

“He’s definitely worth all the hype,” Amerson said. “He’s a good player – fast, quick, big. So he’s definitely a good one.”

Amerson’s sophomore season was better than good.

His 13 picks were one shy of the Division I record set by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968. He had four games with two interceptions and had two interception returns for touchdowns.

He capped the season with two interceptions in a Belk Bowl victory against Louisville to break Dre’ Bly’s ACC record and looked to be on his way to a top-5 pick.

Then 2012 happened.

“Definitely the amount of touchdowns I gave up this season was disappointing,” said Amerson, adding he had the record in mind.

“I was just playing to get interceptions,” he said.

As a result, Amerson sat on routes, guessed in coverage and watched a lot of end zone celebrations after receivers got behind him.

His lowest point was a 44-37 loss to Miami when he was beaten for four touchdowns and failed to make a play on a fifth, when Phillip Dorsett ran into his zone and caught the game-winning, 62-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left.

“I had a chance to make a play on the ball, and I definitely should have made that play,” Amerson said. “I guess you could say you can put it on me.”

Amerson was brutally honest Sunday and didn’t make excuses for his poor play. He still picked off five passes and had 12 pass breakups last season, and his size and speed make him an intriguing prospect.

Amerson, listed at 6-foot-3 at N.C. State, measured 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds at the combine – an attractive frame for a corner in a league trending toward bigger and more physical receivers.

“It allows me to get my fingers on the ball sometimes when I’m not supposed to. And as far as getting hands on receivers and making plays that a guy a little bit shorter than me probably couldn’t make, it definitely helps me,” Amerson said.

“When you have receivers like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, big, tall freaks of nature, you definitely need someone to match up against them.”

Amerson’s drop-off will likely cost him millions. Before the season NFLDraftScout.com ranked Amerson as the top corner and seventh-best prospect overall; the site now has him as the No. 10 corner and No. 87 overall.

Amerson, who played football and basketball at Greensboro’s Dudley High, will do all he can to improve those numbers in Indianapolis.

There are no coverage drills at the combine. And as a junior, Amerson was not eligible to play in any of the all-star games.

All he can do now is run well – he hopes to run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds – hope a team remembers his sensational sophomore season and drafts him high.

“Whatever happens, happens,” he said. “I can just go out here and perform to the best of my ability and show them what I can do as far as me being an athlete. Just see how it plays out.”

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