It was expected the Redskins would pick a safety Friday night. Instead, they came away with a cornerback and a tight end.
The former, David Amerson, won over Mike Shanahan with his combination of size and ball skills, having snagged 18 inceptions the past two seasons at North Carolina State.
“We think he’s got the athletic ability to make plays,” Shanahan said. “He’s in that 4.4 [second] range, and you’ve got length, and you’re in that 6-foot area, and you have the ability to play off coverage and bump …we can give him some opportunities he hasn’t had in the past.”
Shanahan said he believes Amerson can play on the outside or in the slot, but will try him on the outside first. (Read more on Amerson here.)
“The first thing you want to do is to see if a guy can play outside,” he added. “If you find that guy, then you’re in pretty good shape. I think he can play nickel, but we’re looking at him as an outside corner.”
The latter, Jordan Reed, impressed Shanahan with his versatility and elusiveness. The Redskins weren’t even looking for a tight end, Shanahan said, but when the former Florida standout was still on the board at No. 85, they couldn’t pass him up. (Read more on Reed here.)
“We had him as a top receiving tight end and that’s one of the reasons why we drafted him,” Shanahan said. “We feel like he’s got those intangibles you look for, a lot like [Patriots tight end Aaron] Hernandez. I’m not sure if Hernandez is that fast but he’s got the ability to beat linebackers and defensive backs because he knows how to run routes, and this guys is very similar.”
Here are three more notes and quotes from Friday night at Redskins Park:
*Asked if DeAngelo Hall might get switched to free safety, Shanahan wouldn’t directly address the question. But he didn’t rule such a move out, either.
“The great thing about D-Hall is he has the ability to play any position in [the secondary],” Shanahan said. “He can play outside, he can play inside, which gives you some advantages especially with what offenses are doing nowadays. He can play free safety. He can play strong safety. A lot of people can’t play it because they don’t have the skills or they don’t want to hit. But D-Hall isn’t afraid to hit and he’s very bright, which gives us a lot of flexibility.”
*Asked about Niles Paul’s transition to from wide receiver to tight end last season, Shanahan hinted that he’s excited about he prospect of having four tight ends – Reed, Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul – next season.
“Niles has done a great job,” Shanahan said. “It’s always tough to go from wide receiver to tight end, the transition. It’s usually [difficult] in the first year. I expect him to be a lot better. The thing you can do offensively when you four tight ends is you …can put a lot pressure on a defense. You can dress five wides for a game, four wides, four tight ends, a guy that can go either direction.”
*When the draft commences Saturday, the Redskins will own picks 119, 154, 162, 191 and 228. And although nine safeties, including all of the blue chip prospects, are off the board, there are some notable names available, including Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas and Georgia’s Baccari Rambo.