Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like I mentioned on the first slide, the Buccaneer cornerbacks are a tough nut to crack in 2018. Brent Grimes was still great on the field in 2017, but struggled a bit with injuries – now another year older, it’s fair to wonder how much he has left and how healthy he can stay. With Grimes on the field the Buccaneers can make something happen, but it all falls apart the moment he’s not.
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Vernon Hargreaves is now entering his third season, and it’s as make or break time. After a dreadful rookie season the former Gator showed flashes last season but ultimately couldn’t string together more than three quality starts in a row. The Bucs moved Hargreaves into the slot with hopes it would break him from a slump, but long-term they want to see their eleventh overall pick from 2016 be a quality outside cornerback.
Tampa Bay was clearly unnerved by their cornerback play in 2017, reflected by two draft choices. The first is M.J. Stewart, drafted in the second round out of UNC. Stewart is a smallish nickel corner with versatility to play safety as well. The second choice was Carlton Davis, out of Auburn, who the Bucs took shortly after Stewart in round two. Davis is long and lanky with a bigger frame, suited for press man coverage and a departure from the typical Buccaneer cornerback as of late.
These two picks give the Buccaneers some potential breathing room if Hargreaves doesn’t pan out or Grimes isn’t able to maintain his high level of play. I can see a reality where Grimes, Hargreaves, Stewart and Davis form a solid group of corners, but the other chance that age catches up to Grimes and inexperience halts the others is all too plausible as well.