In the 2016 NFL draft, the Buccaneers selected Florida defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III with the 11th overall pick. During his time in Florida, Vernon had a lot of upsides. Attitude, physicality, intelligence, competitiveness, aggression was part of many high marks that described the hungry defensive back. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians actually said that during his head coaching tenure in Arizona, Hargreaves was very high on his draft board.
The disappointing part? The Florida product hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. Vernon has 125 tackles, 14 assists, and only *1* interception to his name, and to be truthful, it wasn’t one he went out of his way to get. The word “bust” gets hurled around when his name comes up. Post-draft grades and evaluations rank him low when he’s mentioned. It’s safe to say that people, in large, aren’t too impressed with him.
However, Buccaneers’ new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles isn’t paying any of that much thought. In fact, his praise on the pseudo-veteran defensive back remains pretty high.
“Vernon is an extremely smart player. He’s a very heady player, and he understands a lot of things. I think Vernon can play in any scheme because he’s very good in zone, he’s very good in man, and he can see what’s happening to him. It’s not even about our scheme, it’s about the guy just being a good football player, and he’s made plays when he has had the opportunity, so we look forward to that come Sunday and the coming weeks.”
The buzz around his name seems to continue in the coaching circles. The Buccaneers are also exercising his 5th-year option next season despite the low productivity. Perhaps a new scheme is precisely what Hargreaves needs. Time will tell.