Buccaneers: Five players who must step up for a successful 2017 season
Hargreaves is a guy the Bucs had on their radar early last off-season. He seemed to be in their sights right from the jump as Jason Licht put him squarely in the target. The Bucs needed to upgrade the secondary doing so first with a veteran in Brent Grimes. He then wanted a young player he could build the future around, and in the first round came the local boy, Vernon Hargreaves.
At times, Hargreaves did flash his potential. He liked sticking his nose in there to make a hit, racking up 76 total tackles. He did notch his first career interception as well, to go along with nine passes defended. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is no bust. He is going to get there and be everything that Bucs fans hoped he would be.
He’s not there yet. The Tampa Bay Times noted that Hargreaves was targeted by opposing quarterbacks 113 times. That was in part due to stellar play out of Brent Grimes, but be that as it may, it happened. 70.7% of passes sent his way were completed, and he allowed 1,069 yards receiving. He was the only cornerback to allow over 1,000 yards receiving.
That has to change. Yes, there is a youth movement in the Bucs secondary. Yes, the pass rush is going to be better which will help the secondary. But if the secondary doesn’t improve, January football becomes unlikely. Grimes will be fine. It starts with the guy of the future, and that means Hargreaves needs to take the next step in his game.