The Bucs placed Vernon Hargreaves III on injured reserve Wednesday, first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

This marks the latest setback for the former first-round pick, who hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring against the Jets in Week 10. Despite a rocky sophomore season, defensive coordinator Mike Smith sees a promising future for Hargreaves.

Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

“I think Vernon has a great mindset,” Smith said on Wednesday. “He’s been working his tail off to get back on the field. It’s unfortunate that he hasn’t been out there to help us play at the level we need to play at but I think the future is very bright for Vernon, both inside and outside.”

Earlier in the season Hargreaves was demoted from outside cornerback to nickel. The move was the result of few tumultuous games – namely at Minnesota and against the Giants – that left head coach Dirk Koetter “extremely” unsettled about the former Gator’s apparent regression. Lack of aggression in coverage was the main point of concern.

Smith said Hargreaves “embraced” the position change and improved in the inside roll. He set a low bar, to be sure, but Hargreaves’ performance in subsequent games nevertheless backed Smith’s assessment.

While he didn’t record an interception – he has just one in 25 career starts – he fared much better the following two weeks. In Buffalo Hargreaves didn’t allow a reception on just four targets. Against Carolina, where he had shifted back to the right side with Robert McClain out with a concussion, he was targeted seven times and allowed just two completions for 13 yards.

Smith suggested that before the injury, Hargreaves was beginning to grasp the concept of the defense while lined up on the outside. That understanding, combined with his maturity and dedication, are what gives Smith confidence in the second-year pro moving forward.

“He’s got the mental makeup to let things roll off [his] back. When you play corner, it’s like being the quarterback – everybody sees your mistake,” Smith said, adding that a few perceived mistakes weren’t all his fault. He believes that Hargreaves can “absolutely” return to his original spot on the outside. 

Koetter, for his part, wasn’t about to guarantee positions for 2018. The next two games for the Bucs could determine more than just Hargreaves’ future.

“Everyone will be evaluated at the end of the year,” Koetter said. “We have a short week as it is and everything is focused on Carolina. We’ll address all that stuff at the appropriate time.”

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: [email protected]

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Devasher
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Devasher

The 2016 NFL Draft for the Bucs was as bad as the 2017 NFL Draft was good. If not a little worse given that you can’t say your idiot GM traded up in the second round for an all-time bad kicker every year. But hey, you can’t complain when you have a nickel corner, injury-prone and undersized DE, all-time bad kicker and special teams player to come out of a draft that you started with a top 10 pick in. That’s a special draft indeed. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Buc 1976
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Buc 1976

Not 1 impact player from that draft. We will never know where VH3 would have been drafted if we had taken Rankins with that pick. IMO VH3 may have been available in late first or second rd. Just my opinion. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Naplesfan
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Naplesfan

Nobody can judge a draft class after two years, let alone 1 year. It takes a minimum of three years, sometimes longer to judge the value of any draft class. The NFL is filled with eventual super stars who took a few years to become what they became known as (Ronde Barber and Gerald McCoy, anybody?) .. as well as the NFL is filled with one or two year wonders who bust out before their rookie contract is over (ASJ, or Michael Clayton, anyone?) Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Devasher
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Devasher

Well since Aguayo is no longer in the NFL and fighting to get on a team’s practice squad that pick is in the books. Regarding Clayton, Barber, Cadillac, Doug Martin, their second year was a much greater predictor of where their career was headed than the first. You can certainly look at a rookie year as an aberration (Bucs are littered with them) but by year two the picture often starts to fill in (Clayton/Martin/Cadillac all had bad sophomore years, Barber became a starter in year 2). It would be hard to ignore two years of someone’s professional career as… Read more »

Buc 1976
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Buc 1976

Naples I know we disagree sometimes. Do you really think the Bucs are better after drafting VH3 instead of a D Linemen? A better pass rush would protect our DB’S. Ok we got VH3 IMO he will be a nickel back so IMO he was taken to high. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Naplesfan
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Naplesfan

The choice of this player over that player in a draft is not just a choice between positions, but between individual actual players. Most NFL teams strive to take best player available on their boards, and each team constructs its draft boards according to their needs and to their assessment of the potential performance of the individual players. Whether Licht made an optimal choice of Hargreaves vs. some other player they didn’t take, it’s too soon to tell, as it takes a minimum of three full seasons to assess any given player. It just does. At this point Hargreaves has… Read more »

Naplesfan
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Naplesfan

Most Bucs fans thought Gerald McCoy was bust at the end of his second season in the league. In his first two seasons, he started only 19 games out of 32, and recorded just 4 sacks, and only 1 sack in his second season. Ronde Barber started just 9 games in his first two seasons, and recorded only 2 interceptions in his first two seasons in the league. It’s not unusual at all for cornerbacks and other defenders (including defensive ends) to take a few years to develop to their capacity, even when they’re not injured as have been both… Read more »

Devasher
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Devasher

Many Bucs fans STILL think Gerald McCoy is a bust LOL. Gerald McCoy got, and still receives a lot of hate because he was taken 3rd overall and the team has been a loser for most of his career. While he had injuries Gerald McCoy wasn’t getting abused out there as a rookie or sophomore, the injuries and losses hurt his standing with fans at the time. Feel free to compare McCoy’s first two years to Sheldon Rankins (who some fans and Scott Reynolds still believe should still have been the pick over Hargreaves) Barber started 0 games his first… Read more »

Buc 1976
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Buc 1976

devsher GMC is a true PRO! ANYONE that say otherwise should be ashamed of themselves. Or better put the pads on and see up close how good he is!!!! Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Devasher
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Devasher

Gerald McCoy is arguably the best player Dominik acquired in his 5 years here, his misfortune is that he was drafted in 2010 in the midst of the Tampa Bay Browns experience thanks in no small part from the inept ownership of the Glazer Babies. Had GMC been drafted 11 years earlier in Booger McFarlands spot and had the fortune to line up with Warren Sapp, McCoy would be revered by this fan base. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Ja'crispy
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Ja'crispy

Mike smith said “Hargreaves was beginning to grasp the concept of the defense while lined up on the outside.” Hes been in this defense for 2 years now and hes just starting to grasp the concept is concerning to me. Not sure if its Vern or mike smiths system but we will all find out when mike smith is gone next year. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Buc 1976
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Buc 1976

No Sh**. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

scubog
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scubog

Instant assessment of a player is a dangerous position to take. We have several examples in which players ultimately both surprised and disappointed after their first few years in the league. Vernon would still have been drafted in the top 15 had the Bucs selected a different player because that’s where all of the “experts” had him graded. None of the “experts” laughed hysterically at the choice. Just like in the normal work place; some newbies get it right away while others take a little more time for the light bulb to come on. The most important thing is the… Read more »