I'll admit, that like most people, Vernon Hargreaves lack of ideal size was concerning leading up to the draft, and even more so when the Bucs made him their first round selection. Drafting a shutdown corner that high in the draft is not very outrageous, unless that corner is just 5'10''. Then there are concerns.
While most of us were questioning Hargreaves' lack of size to cover the big receivers like Julio Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald, Alshon Jeffery, and Dez Bryant, all of which are on the Bucs 2016 schedule, perhaps we should be asking ourselves if the Bucs view Hargreaves as a shutdown corner at all.
Typically, when you draft a cornerback in the first round, that team throws that rookie out on the outside and asks him to cover one of the top receivers on the opposing offense. Hargreaves future might lie on the inside more than the outside.
"We’re going to start him off both inside and outside," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said at rookie minicamp. "We’re – both with the vets and the rooks – trying to find that perfect nickel and he’s one of the guys we’re looking at for sure.”
The more I think about the possibility of Hargreaves coming in and being a star nickel corner who owns the middle of the field, the more I'm starting to like the pick. Let's face it, the offenses in the NFL are not traditional offenses anymore, so why have traditional defenses on the other side of the ball. Three receiver sets are more of the norm for NFL offenses than your traditional "pro-style" offenses. With that being the case, a nickel/slot corner has seen its value skyrocket with these new offenses dominating the league. If that's the case, Hargreaves may be the ideal pick.
“I’m excited for that," Hargreaves said about the prospect of playing nickel corner. "I want to play wherever I can play, wherever I fit in. It’s perfect for me.”
Hargreaves can play inside at nickel corner or on the outside. Bucs GM Jason Licht surely sees some of Tyrann Mathieu in the Bucs' new defensive back. If Hargreaves is even close to that type of player with that type of impact, the Bucs may have ended up with a steal.
The Bucs needed help in their secondary. They got that in Hargreaves.
The Bucs needed a playmaker on defense. They got that in Hargreaves.
The Bucs needed more physical players on defense. They got that in Hargreaves.
Perhaps most of all, the Bucs needed a continued attitude adjustment on defense. They also got that in Vernon Hargreaves.
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