As a high first round pick, Vernon Hargreaves entered the NFL with a great deal of expectations. We all know how bad the 2015 Bucs secondary was. They basically couldn’t stop a nosebleed. Quarterbacks completed 70% of their passes against the Bucs that year. In response, Licht signed Brent Grimes and drafted Hargreaves.
Well, Hargreaves went through the growing pains of a rookie. Per Pro Football Focus, the Bucs secondary was ranked 15th overall in the league. Hargreaves was the only cornerback to allow more than 1,000 yards receiving. With Grimes on the other side, clearly the attention was going to be put on “VHIII”, to the tune of 113 targets and 80 receptions allowed. He did manage one interception and nine passes defended (per Sporting Charts), but he will be looking to step things up in 2017.
The selection of Justin Evans will help. Help was already coming in the form of J.J. Wilcox, but Evans will make things even better. The safety play for the Bucs has been uneven, to say the least. Bradley McDougald and Chris Conte have had flashes of good play, but have been inconsistent. Conte is here while McDougald is gone, but the position simply had to improve.
A guy like Evans will give Hargreaves the ability to guard more closely and take more chances. Knowing he has competent help behind him will help Hargreaves ability as a cover corner to blossom into what we expect from a high first round pick.