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Most NFL Draft analysts believe that the Buccaneers will use their first-round pick on a defensive player, selecting either a cornerback or a defensive end. Hargreaves and Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey, many believe, are the two-best corners entering the draft, but Ramsey could be gone by the time the Buccaneers pick at No. 9.
Evans caught four passes on seven targets for 58 yards. On defense, Hargreaves made an outstanding, touchdown-saving interception at the goal line on a pass intended for Brandon LaFell. He also had a pass breakup on third down, forcing the Bengals to settle for a field goal.
There were certainly high expectations for Vernon Hargreaves when the Buccaneers selected him in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Many analysts believed Hargreaves was the best pure cover corner in the draft. By the Buccaneers selecting him, they got a player who they believed to be the best player available, and also a player at a position of need.
If there is a player that’s been most often linked to the Bucs, it’s Hargreaves. The majority of NFL Draft analysts believe that Tampa Bay will select him ninth overall, with NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah going as far as saying, “If he’s there – put the card in.”
Hargreaves said he hasn’t done anything differently this offseason. He’s just getting more comfortable, which has meant less thinking, and it’s allowed him to move more naturally and Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey cheap and play to his instincts.
Now he goes up against DeSean Jackson in practice daily. Even at 30, Jackson is considered one of the fastest receivers in the league. Hargreaves is playing faster, too, though, now that he has a better understanding of Mike Smith’s defense.
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Whether or not Hargreaves had connected the fact that he’s widely projected to be selected by the Buccaneers and could be potentially playing with Grimes is unknown. But it would certainly make for an upgraded 1-2 punch at a position where the Buccaneers lacked continuity a season ago.
“I had my plays that I didn’t perfect the way I needed to, and that’s on me,” said Hargreaves. “That’s something I’ve got to learn, I’ve got to get better at. Watch the film, see what I did wrong and go correct it – it’s as simple as that. The game’s a little bit different from college, not too different. There’s little things that I need to start seeing more, and that will make me a better player.
Indeed, Adjei-Barimah drew praise for his strong work in May and June, and he was a surprisingly strong contributor to the defense last year as an undrafted rookie. Koetter also pointed to Grimes and Verner as two of the players who have gotten off to a fast start during the first week of camp. Hargreaves’ elevation to the front line is basically an acknowledgment that the rookie is going to have a significant role in the defense this fall, one way or the other.
And Hargreaves has obviously been making the most of his opportunities, as he did on Saturday night.
It was evident as early as June that Vernon Hargreaves was too talented to keep off the field; still unsure of Hargreaves’ exact role in the defense at that time, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter nevertheless said – repeatedly – that the rookie cornerback was “going to play.”
Koetter also pointed to Grimes and Verner as two of the players who have gotten off to a fast start during the first week of camp. Hargreaves’ elevation to the front line is basically an acknowledgment that the rookie is going to have a significant role in the defense this fall, one way or the other.
With three preseason games in the books, it’s become clear why Hargreaves has continued to receive promotions. He recorded two interceptions in the Buccaneers’ preseason victory over the Jaguars and has performed well in his other two competitions.