In college some players can get by on athleticism alone. Such is not the case in the NFL and Bucs first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III is learning that quickly.
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves III – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
After the final minicamp session a couple weeks ago, the No. 11 overall pick was asked what he’s taken so far from watching veteran teammates and fellow cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner in practice.
“It’s more than just being athletic,” Hargreaves responded. “Those guys are extremely smart. They know what’s coming before it’s coming and that’s why they are who they are. That’s why they’re Pro Bowlers.”
Hargreaves said after the draft that he would follow around Grimes, one of the players he’s modeled his game after, to the point of annoyance if necessary. It’s unclear whether Grimes or Verner have become irked at times with Hargreaves’ constant questioning; it is clear that the young pro has kept his word about pushing the limits for the sake of improving.
“(I’m) just learning from them, taking bits of information from them every day, staying in their ear, staying [on] their hip, bugging them, and keep asking them questions,” Hargreaves said. “That’s how I learn the best so that’s what I’m doing and they’re doing a great job of helping me.”
Since arriving at One Buc in May Hargreaves has drawn rave reviews from players and coaches alike, both for his on-field ability and capacity to learn. Coach Dirk Koetter has repeatedly said the former Gator has been everything the Bucs thought he would be, and again expressed confidence in his ability to play both nickel and outside cornerback once the season begins.
Hargreaves, for his part, admits he’s still more comfortable on the outside, but is embracing the challenge of playing in the nickel role. Which, he notes, provides an advantage of playing the ball.
“New position, (so there are) new techniques and things I need to learn,” Hargreaves said. “It’s a learning process, but I’m enjoying it…The closer you are to the ball, the more times you can touch the ball, so I’m happy about moving inside, of course.” Hargreaves intercepted at least two passes during live-ball action over the course of six practices of OTAs and mandatory minicamp.
To Koetter’s approval, Hargreaves said he plans on using the six-week break to condition in order to “stay in football shape.” Taking care of your body, the young pro already recognizes, is “what’s going to get you through those 17 weeks.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Love Hargreaves attitude and he fits in with team. Go Bucs!
Me too Horse. After watching him this past Gator season I had a few reservations until I learned he was nursing a hamstring injury. So far, so good for the youngster.
I was siding with S.R. on the selection of Rankins, over VH3, but love what the kid has brought to the table so far. Like us picking local talent, and from the SEC. He’s acting like a guy who get’s the responsibility of being a pro. Good corners are hard to come by.
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