30 Questions: Is David Amerson ready to start?
With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
Is second-year cornerback David Amerson ready for primetime?
When the Redskins drafted Amerson with the 51st overall pick in 2013, they did so with expectation he’d be ready to start in season two. And with the exception of a few hiccups as a rookie, Amerson showed steady progress, particularly in the second half as he competed harder against the run and played more confidently and decisively in coverage. In fact, there was little doubt after his strong Week 17 performance in the Meadowlands that he had become a significantly improved player as the Redskins’ No. 3 corner. But there’s a big difference in the NFL between ‘improved’ and ‘first string caliber’, which is he’s expected to be in 2014.
El-Bashir: Amerson had better be ready for primetime because the Redskins don’t really have another option after choosing to not re-sign Josh Wilson. Entering training camp, the depth chart at corner figures to go like this: Hall and Amerson as the starters, Tracy Porter as the nickel and E.J. Biggers, Bashaud Breeland, Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield battling for the final two jobs. As I mentioned in the intro, all signs point to Amerson being up to the task. As a rookie, he did what was expected. Which is to say he got better each week. Add to that the fact he’s now had an entire offseason program to practice and prepare as a starter. He looked good in OTAs and minicamp and also said he’s also packed on six or seven pounds of muscle. The way I see it, Washington’s defense still has some areas of concern, but Amerson’s preparedness should not rank high on that list.
Tandler: Technically this is Amerson’s first season as a starter but he did have a substantial workload as a rookie. He played 694 snaps, about 70 percent of the total defensive plays. If a second-round pick isn’t ready to start after getting that much experience under his belt, there’s something seriously wrong in the scouting department. Amerson made his mistakes but he made some significant contributions as well. The Redskins were staring at a 14-3 deficit in Oakland when a loss would have sent them into the bye week at 0-4. They were in trouble until Amerson picked off a Matt Flynn pass and rolled 45 yards for a touchdown that got things going in the right direction. Amerson won’t be perfect as a starter this year but if he makes a few plays like that one the Redskins will be happy with him.