Casual college football fans may not be familiar with the annual quality depth of defensive players roaming the ACC, but NFL scouts are. And given the wealth of talent on that side of the ball in the league again this fall, expect to hear a few names called early in next April’s draft.
At least two defensive players from ACC schools have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft for seven of the last eight seasons. More impressively is that overall 27 ACC defenders have gone in the opening round during that span, including eight top-10 selections.
Leading the way is N.C. State cornerback David Amerson, who led the nation with 13 interceptions last season, six more than anyone else at the FBS level. Amerson not only set an ACC record, but came within one pick of tying the all-time Division One single-season mark.
As excellent as Amerson is defending the pass, he’s as effective against the run and executing responsibilities through various defensive schemes. He’s smart, focused, intense and quite confident.
If not for Amerson’s play last fall, the Wolfpack may not have turned around its season and finished by defeating Louisville in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, a game in which Amerson grabbed two interceptions, returning one impressively for his second touchdown of the season.