Vernon Hargreaves III, former Gator, was the Bucs 1st round draft pick for the 2016 season. By the end of training, the coaches were impressed with him. He was the starting cornerback, opposite Brent Grimes, and out of necessity, he was also the starting nickel corner in sub packages.
Unfortunately, his position is infamously difficult to play, even as a seasoned veteran; since the league’s main focus is on the offense. He gave up more targets, receptions, and yardage than any corner in the NFL and despite all the passes thrown his way, he was only able to follow through on 1 interception all season.
Not to say that all was lost in his Rookie season, he proved himself to be a determined and willing tackler with 76 tackles as well as 10 pass breakups. And as the season progressed, you could see that he was becoming more confident in his abilities.
Dirk Koetter challenged him in the off season to work on his confidence and to be more aggressive, and it is sounding like Hargreaves has been hard at work, doing just that. “From the start of OTAs through now, 12 practices, Vernon has done a very nice job of playing more aggressive and trying to take the ball away. Obviously he’s got to carry it over the season, but very, very pleased with what he’s doing.” Koetter said during a press conference.
His fellow team mate, Mike Evans also talked about his progress. “In OTAs I noticed that he’s talking more. At first he was real quiet, he’s talking more and showing out, he’s making plays. He looks real good.”
He’s been working daily with speedy Wide Receiver, DeSean Jackson and he also gets a daily size mismatch going up against Mike Evans, which is paying off.
“You have no choice but to get better, you can’t–there are no off days, even at practice now, when you’ve got guys as good as them guys on the outside, every rep is like a game rep,” said Hargreaves.
With his rookie year behind him, things are looking great for Hargreaves in the coming season.