Picking high in the first round of the NFL Draft should land you a sure-fire, guaranteed impact type of starter on either side of the ball. That could have been the case for the Buccaneers Thursday night but instead went the safe route by trading down and selecting Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
Let me start off by saying this is in no way discrediting Hargreaves’ ability. He brings good, physical play as a corner and fits the cornerback type this new defense predicates itself on: Making plays all over the field. Hargreaves can certainly do that. But was his selection really necessary?
The cornerback depth chart will now be a crowded one with Brent Grimes, Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks. All three can play respectively and have five Pro Bowls between Verner (1) and Grimes (4). Banks can also play some football as he lead the team in interceptions with seven just two seasons ago before the now college coach benched him all last season. None of that really matters this early on in the offseason but does Hargreaves come in as the fourth listed corner on the depth chart? Shouldn’t a first round draft selection — one that would have been a Top 10 pick — be an immediate difference maker?
This selection was actually in the works for some time. Last month on a Fox Sports podcast general manager Jason Licht mentioned how the acquisition of veteran players like Grimes will help “teach” young guys that come in. It just so happens that both play the same position, a hint of sorts.
Fortunately for the Bucs, Hargreaves brings attitude and they need lots of that. He does like going after the ball and going after ball carriers as he is not afraid of contact. And at 20 years old, there is plenty of that left in him.
Still, the Bucs had a pressing need along the defensive front. While Hargreaves does present some great intangibles and traits that Licht lauds, it was a safe pick but at the same time one that wasn’t required. Hopefully they will be able to address the defensive line in Day 2 with some decent names still left on the board.