It’s been just over three months since Tampa Bay spent its No. 11 overall pick on Vernon Hargreaves III and in just one week the former Gator will take the field for the first time in Pewter and Red when the Bucs travel to Philadelphia next Thursday.
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I’m sure I’ll be a little nervous,” Hargreaves said of playing in his first NFL, albeit preseason, game next week. “But once the game gets started and I get settled in, I’m sure I’ll be alright.”
The rookie has been splitting time with Jude Adjei-Barimah, a second-year who played in 13 games last season, at nickel cornerback throughout training camp. Hargreaves has been running mainly with the second-team in the first six days, but that doesn’t matter to him. At this point – just one week into his first camp – it’s about getting reps and improving technique.
“I need as many reps as I can get, no matter which group I can get them with,” he said. “I need to see more looks, see more route concepts.” As for whether he had a preference of nickel or outside, Hargreaves answered, “Whatever gets me on the field first.”
Hargreaves, who’s drawn rave reviews from coaches and Jason Licht throughout the offseason, has been “picking the brain” of veteran corners, just as he promised during his introductory press conference. That’s especially the case with Brent Grimes, a similarly built corner who Hargreaves has looked up to since high school.
Grimes has played under Mike Smith before, Hargreaves noted, and is a great sounding board for a young corner.
“He knows the defense so if I have any questions I can go to him and he’ll break it down for me in players’ terms – terms I’ll probably understand,” Hargreaves said.
“We have some great vets. Brent Grimes, Alterraun Verner, they’re textbook. They’re textbook in everything they do. They’re real professional and they’re always helping me out with new techniques and things they know.”
That’s not to discount his primary competition, either. Hargreaves said the battle and communication between himself and Adjei-Barimah, who’s also quietly put together a nice offseason, has made both players better.
“(Jude’s) been in the system for about a year now and he’s starting to understand it, the whole defense,” Hargreaves said. “So if I have questions I’m going to him, and if he has questions he’s coming to me. We’re competing, but you know what I’m saying we’re all trying to get each other better.”
Questions and competition aside, though, Hargreaves knows this is his own journey as a pro. He has to experience the good and the bad, taking a “trial-and-error” approach, and learn for himself what it takes to be successful in the NFL.
“You have to go through it and I’m going through it,” he said. “I’m figuring things out, how things work. Obviously I ask questions to the guys in our group, which are great guys, but like I said I’m trying to figure it out myself.
“Everybody is a little bit different. I try to ‘trial-and-error’ and see how that works for me.”
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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