The Oakland Raiders claimed cornerback David Amerson after week two of last season when the Washington Redskins waived him after two-plus dismal seasons with the Washington Redskins.
The former NC State star never quite lived up to the hype in Washington after being drafted 51st overall by the Redskins. In 33 games with the Redskins, Amerson racked up 111 tackles, 18 passes defensed and just two interceptions. But after being picked up by the Raiders, Amerson played in just 14 games with only 12 starts, yet still exceeded his numbers in Washington with 26 passes defensed and four interceptions.
Pro Football Focus rewarded him for his season by naming him the most-improved player in 2015, while the Raiders just rewarded him with a four-year contract extension with $18 million guaranteed.
Amerson credits the supporting cast around him with the Raiders, while also realizing what he needs to do to get better himself.
“I think it was a little bit of all of that. I think it was a self-check with myself, and coming over here and being with coaches like [assistant defensive backs coach] Rod Woodson and ‘M-Rob’ [defense backs coach Marcus Robertson] and coach [defensive coordinator Ken] Norton, Jr., [Head] Coach Jack Del Rio," Amerson said after signing his deal. "All those guys played big in my development as a player. Definitely, the scheme, I think our scheme, especially last year was more, you know what we’re in, beat it, type of stuff. So, it really made you go out there and play fast and just play football.”
The former second-round pick just wanted to get back on the field to prove himself after letting his supporters down in Washington.
"When I got released from Washington, of course a lot of things were a little cloudy but I never lost sight of the vision," Amerson said. "I knew once I got an opportunity to get back on the field, I had to make the best of it. I really had to try to do something special to make my presence known, to get my name out there. By the grace of God, I was able to do it. It’s just a blessing that I have an organization that’s behind me and that supports me.”
For Amerson, it doesn't take much to figure out what is different between his tenure in Oakland and in Washington.
“It wasn’t really rocket science for me, to be honest with you. Once I got here, I matured," the now 24-year-old corner says. "I came in the league and I was 21 years old. Not saying I’m much older now, but three years, I’m 24 now, I’ve learned a lot in three years. I just think when I got here, I was in the right mindset. I was in the right mindset and the right maturity level and professionalism. I was taking that transition of becoming a professional. I think it worked out for the best.”
Now Amerson finds himself on a Raiders defense that is looking to take the next step after key free agent additions like cornerback Sean Smith, linebacker Bruce Irvin and safeties Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson. Though the team is surrounded by high expectations, he and the team know they must work hard to take the Silver & Black to another level.
"Expectations are just expectations, you still have to go out there and do it and prove it. I think the best way to go about that is just work. We had a great offseason, OTAs, lifting and everything," Amerson said. "I just think that guys have the mentality to work. Once you know you put 100% effort in to whatever your preparation is, you have to live with the results and let your talent and let your wings spread.”