Vernon Hargreaves III Should Be The Bucs Starting Nickel Cornerback

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After a solid 2018 draft, the cornerback room became a little crowded. Hargreaves will not likely start opposite Brent Grimes. He will, however, most likely start in the nickel. I believe the reason for this is that the stats support it.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), when playing in the slot, he was targeted 75% less and had a catch rate of just 54.5% (compared to 67.4% as the outside corner). You can read PFF’s original article with full details HERE.

Hargreaves might have been drafted with the intention of locking him down as the corner opposite Grimes but the evidence proves he plays better between the hashes. It also gives him the inside track for the starting gig.

The biggest challenger for the spot will be MJ Stewart. Although, coming in as a rookie, he would need to have an excellent camp to unseat Hargreaves as the starter on the depth chart. However, I believe Stewart could float from nickel to outside corner, or even safety depending on injuries down the stretch.

That said, I fully expect Hargreaves to not only start the season at nickel, but flourish going into his second season at the position. He has been set up perfectly to succeed with experience at the position and key defensive additions should only make his role easier.

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