Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves ready to break out in 2017

After a solid rookie season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves is ready to make more noise in 2017.

Vernon Hargreaves can ball. That much was evident in his rookie season in 2016 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He showed his versatility on the field, proving that he could be an aggressive tackler in addition to a solid coverage corner. Now in Year 2, he looks to avoid the sophomore slump and prove that last year’s productivity was not a fluke.

In 16 games played, he recorded 76 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception. Some of the highlights of last season for him included Tampa Bay’s Oct. 30 game against the Oakland Raiders (where he recorded a season-high eight tackles and two pass deflections) as well as the club’s Christmas Eve matchup with the New Orleans Saints in which he intercepted Drew Brees.

He showed last season that he always brought a competitive spirit to each game he played in. In seven Tampa Bay losses, he recorded 38 total tackles and six pass deflections, often continuing to set the tone in situations where other players would have given up.

One of the things that was very noticeable about his game was his “motor” in correlation with his durability.

Many of the great players in today’s game possess that motor. In the case of a linebacker, it is always seeming to be where the ball is. In the case of a wide receiver it is never taking plays off and constantly keeping the defender on his toes. The “motor” players are the ones that never stop working. For Hargreaves to have that motor as well as to be able to play all 16 games is a remarkable feat.

The sentiment of a “motor player” was certainly true for Hargreaves. In the first half of the 16 games he played in, he recorded 36 total tackles, six pass deflections, and an interception. The second half was a continuation of his stellar play, as he amassed 29 tackles and three pass deflections.

With that in mind, what can we expect from Hargreaves in 2017? Per the most recent depth chart from OurLads.com, Hargreaves is lined up at left corner opposite Brent Grimes. That is certainly a duo to watch this coming season.

Statistically, I would venture to say that he will start in all 16 games and record at least 80 tackles with a forced fumble and three interceptions. I expect to see his versatile and physical playstyle continue. Anything less would be a dissapointment.

This may be the year Hargreaves makes that jump to become a truly elite corner. That is great news for the Buccaneers as they try and piece together the formula needed for sustained success.

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