All Aboard The Hargreaves Train
Vernon Hargreaves III was drafted with the 11th pick in the 2016 NFL draft. He was a much-needed addition to a team that ranked 26th in points allowed. The former Florida Gator has struggled every year since entering the NFL. His rookie year he was thrown to the wolves. It wasn’t very surprising in hindsight, a rookie cornerback tasked with having to cover receivers with quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Drew Brees throwing his way. It’s a tough job for any cornerback, let alone a rookie. His second year, things started to look better. Hargreaves found a lot of success at the nickel spot. In 2017 between weeks 7-10, according to Pro Football Focus, he would only allow 0.41 yards per coverage snap whenever he was targeted. However, an injury to his hamstring would then sideline him for the remainder of the season. In 2018, Hargreaves would play less than one game due to an injured shoulder in the week 1 victory against the Saints.
Needless to say, fans were not pleased. But do not be alarmed. The Buccaneers hired head coach, Bruce Arians. Arians has made sure to say some very promising things to the media regarding defense. The Kangol loving head coach emphasized that Hargreaves was high on his draft board when the cornerback was entering the draft in 2016. He would also reassure us of his future: “People say [Hargreaves] was a bust. He was hurt all the time. It wasn’t his fault. He was a hell of a player.” He’d then go on to present the idea of Hargreaves playing outside cornerback full-time and that the team will find a nickel corner.
That is a little surprising considering Hargreaves found a lot of success in the nickel spot and struggled with the outside. But who knows? Hargreaves will be playing in a brand new system, and he could easily rebound. Arians did say he wanted to play a lot of man coverage and Hargreaves is perfect for that. This is all music to fan’s ears. Arians is saying all the right things, that is for sure. How is it going to translate to in-game, though? The defensive backs are arguably the worst position group on the Bucs’ roster (so we think).
The Bucs were rumored to be interested in Morris Claiborne and even offers his the bet minimum, which he had declined. Now, the Bucs have moved on and are not interested in the veteran CB any longer.
The #Bucs do not have any interest in CB Morris Claiborne at this time. They seem poised to head into the draft with Carlton Davis and Vernon Hargeaves as the starters.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) March 28, 2019
Not having any veteran CBs could be a red flag for this young Buccaneer secondary. That all being said, Arians has had a winning history so it is hard not to “dive in” to the words he’s saying. Look for Tampa Bay to draft a cornerback at some point in the draft. Maybe even day one.