Our own Justin Pawlowski and Luke Easterling "Make the Case" for the top cornerbacks in this class.
While the national media continues to throw Vernon Hargreaves to the Bucs in every mock draft they do, it's not a foregone conclusion that the Bucs will even go cornerback early in this draft. It's also not a foregone conclusion that Vernon Hargreaves will end up as the top cornerback selected in this draft.
The Buccaneers have added Brent Grimes and Josh Robinson to a cornerback stable that already includes Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks, and Jude Adjei-Barimah. There might not be a true star in that group, but if the Bucs are truly willing to give Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks fresh starts in a defensive scheme that squeezes the life out of its defensive backs, perhaps cornerback isn't as desperate a need for the Bucs as national pundits have assumed.
In this piece, Luke Easterling and I "Make the Case" for which cornerback the Bucs should consider in the first round, if that's the position they would like to address. After a flip of a coin, Luke will defend William Jackson III and I will defend Vernon Hargreaves III.
Vernon Hargreaves III - Justin Pawlowski
I have made my concerns known about Hargreaves lack of ideal size, but that's not saying he's a bad player. Hargreaves has been a key player on the Gators defense since he committed to them as a senior in high school. Playing in the SEC, Hargreaves quickly paved the way to becoming one of the most notable cornerbacks in the nation. Despite a lack of ideal size, Hargreaves is very feisty, and as physical as any cornerback in this class. While his lack of height and short arms may hinder him from matching up against bigger receivers and becoming a true shutdown corner, Hargreaves still has plenty of potential to becoming a quality starter and play a long time in the NFL. Oh, and he wants to play for the Bucs, so there's that.
William Jackson III - Luke Easterling
There’s no elite shut-down corner in this year’s draft, but Jackson is the closest thing. He’s got all the physical traits to develop into that kind of a player, from his combination of size (6’0”, 189 pounds) and speed (4.37 40-yard dash) to his instincts and ball skills. Jackson flashed play-making ability throughout his career at Houston, but he’s still just scratching the surface of his potential. Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves was seemingly anointed long ago as this year’s top cover man, but he’s much closer to his ceiling right now than Jackson. Hargreaves might be more polished at this point, but while he’s a very good player, I think his ceiling may be nothing more than a really good No. 2 corner. Jackson is certainly more raw and needs to refine his skill set, but he has the tools and potential to easily be the best corner to come out of this year’s draft. Guys with his combination of size, speed and skills don’t usually fall too far on draft day, and if the Bucs want to take a corner in the 1st
round, they’d be better off going with Jackson than any other player at the position.
Who do you believe is the draft's top cover corner? Share your opinion with us on twitter...@TBBucsonScout
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