Vernon Hargreaves III

Buccaneers Notes: Monken, Koetter, Pierre-Paul, Jackson, Hargreaves

The Buccaneers’ offensive explosion in Week 1 caught pretty much everybody by surprise. The Bucs scored 48 points and won fairly easily on the road in New Orleans. Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Although it was mostly the same personnel from previous seasons, there was at least one major change. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken was calling plays instead of head coach Dirk Koetter according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. Koetter had always called plays during his time in Tampa Bay, but relinquished the play calling duties to Monken after he excelled in the role during the preseason. If Week 1 is any indication, it doesn’t look like Koetter will be asking for the responsibility back anytime soon.

Here’s more from Tampa:

  • The injuries just keep piling up for the Bucs on defense. Vernon Hargreaves was recently placed on injured reserve, top corner Brent Grimes‘ status is still unclear, and now star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has a knee injury according to Laine (Twitter link). Pierre-Paul told Laine his knee was “jacked up” and that while he hopes to play this Sunday he’s “not really sure” if he’ll be able to.
  • The injuries aren’t only on defense. Receiver DeSean Jackson is in the concussion protocol according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). In addition to the concussion, Jackson is nursing a minor shoulder injury and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to go Sunday against the Eagles, although at this point it looks like he’ll probably play assuming he clears the protocol.
  • It was reported earlier this week that Hargreaves would miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, and now more details are in. The 11th overall pick of the 2016 draft has a torn labrum according to Laine. Although he struggled his first two years in the league, Hargreaves reportedly had a very strong camp to win the starting job, and it’s a huge blow to the Bucs’ already thin secondary.

Buccaneers To Place Vernon Hargreaves On Injured Reserve

The Buccaneers were dealt another blow to their secondary with an injury to Vernon Hargreaves, and it’s serious enough that the team will place him on injured reserve, a source told Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).

Stroud adds that the shoulder injury is “season ending” so it doesn’t sound like Hargreaves is a candidate for one of the Bucs’ two designated to return spots. It was reported yesterday that the injury was potentially serious, and now we have confirmation. Hargreaves, a starting cornerback, was supposed to be an integral part of the Buccaneers’ defense.

The team was already without number one corner Brent Grimes in Week 1, and the secondary is now extremely thin. It would be pretty surprising if the Bucs don’t bring in some outside help sometime this week. The team met with Bashaud Breeland earlier this week, and adding him to the roster would make a lot of sense.

Hargreaves, the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft, has had a disappointing career this far. Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the worst cornerbacks in the league through his first two seasons, but Bucs’ coaches and executives were reportedly still high on him and expecting him to make a leap in 2018. He’s still just 23, but it’s a huge blow to his development.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vernon Hargreaves Possibly Done For Year?

Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves suffered a “serious” shoulder injury on Sunday, tweets Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, and Adam Schefter and John Keim of ESPN.com add (via Twitter) that the injury may be season-ending. Hargreaves will receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, per Stroud.

Tampa Bay was without veteran cornerback Brent Grimes against the Saints, so Hargreaves acted as the club’s de facto No. 1 corner against Drew Brees until going down with his own injury. The Bucs were reportedly optimistic that Hargreaves’ shoulder issue wasn’t serious, but an MRI may have told the club otherwise.

With Hargreaves possibly out of the picture, the Buccaneers’ problems at cornerback will become even more pronounced. Second-round rookie Carlton Davis‘ is now Tampa’s top corner, while Ryan Smith (a 10-game starter in 2017) will likely hold down the other starting spot. But given that the rest of the depth chart — Javien Elliott, M.J. Stewart, and the recently-signed Marcus Williams — doesn’t offer much NFL experience, the Buccaneers took a look at free agent defender Bashaud Breeland earlier today.

Hargreaves, the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft, is still only 23 years old, but his career has been a relative disappointment thus far. After starting 16 games as a rookie, Hargreaves missed time with a hamstring injury last year, and wasn’t effective when he was on the field. Pro Football Focus’ grades indicated Hargreaves played like one of the worst corners in the league, and the Florida product finished as a bottom-five cornerback in Football Outsiders’ success rate.

If Hargreaves is out for the year, the Buccaneers will be able to immediately contemplate their now difficult decision on his 2020 fifth-year option. Tampa Bay must decide by May of next year whether it”ll exercise an option that would likely pay Hargreaves around $10MM (the figure was $9.06MM for corners in 2019).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bucs, Hargreaves, Seahawks

A video of Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves smoking a cigarette containing an unknown substance surfaced on Instagram this week, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times details. Hargreaves, a University of Florida product, has struggled in the first two years of his young career. Last year, the Bucs tried employing Hargreaves as their nickel cornerback before a hamstring injury ended his season after nine games.

The video alone is unlikely to get Hargreaves into trouble with the law or the NFL, but a positive test for a banned substance such as marijuana would violate the league’s substance abuse policy. All in all, it’s simply not a good look for a player who has failed to make good on his first-round status.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • At the owners’ meetings, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link) heard Mark Sanchez‘s name “as a possibility” for the Seahawks. Someone like Sanchez could serve as a veteran backup to Russell Wilson now that Trevone Boykin is out of the picture.
  • The “Josh McDaniels rule” which would have allowed assistant coaches to sign on as head coaches elsewhere during the playoffs did not pass at this week’s owners’ meetings. Surprisingly, Colts GM Chris Ballard was not among those in support of the rule. “When you’re a playoff team, you’re trying to eliminate all the distractions that you can. And we’re going to be a playoff team and we’re going to have these issues,” Ballard said (via Stephen Holder of the Indy Star). “It becomes a slippery slope. We have rules in place for a reason. I think they’re good rules. It gives you a chance to interview and then, after the season, whatever happens, happens. In our case, he changed his mind and we moved on.”
  • New Broncos defender Su’a Cravens has the ability to play both safety and linebacker, but the team views him strictly as a safety, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Broncos acquired Cravens from Washington on Wednesday in a deal that will net the Redskins a fifth-round pick plus upgraded picks in the fourth and fifth round and a conditional sixth-round choice in 2020.

Buccaneers Place Vernon Hargreaves On IR

The Buccaneers are placing cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III on injured reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Hargreaves’ hamstring injury has kept him off the field in recent weeks and the team has decided not to chance things in the final two games of the season. Vernon Hargreaves (vertical)

Hargreaves, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 draft, appeared in only nine games this year with seven starts. Because of the hamstring issue, we haven’t seen him on the field since the Bucs’ November 12th win over the Jets.

The Bucs are still waiting to see the Florida product fulfill his potential. Hargreaves was healthy for all of last season and recorded 76 tackles, but he surrendered the most targets (127), catches (86), and yards (1,271) in the NFL.

He earned a 44.4 overall score from Pro Football Focus in ’16, placing him among the worst qualified corners in the league. This season, he showed some improvement in that regard, finishing out with a 72.8 score, though that barely places him among the top 70 players at his position.

Hargreaves, 23 in June, is under contract through 2019. He’ll be back in Tampa Bay next year with a $3.866MM cap figure.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Bucs, Aguayo, Winston, Jaguars

Draft evaluations are subjective and tend to vary greatly from team to team. This week, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht reminded us of that fact when he explained that he had first-round grades on three of his rookies this year, including kicker Roberto Aguayo. The Bucs thought enough of the FSU product to trade into the second round for him and apparently it’s a move that the Bucs made with confidence. Along with Aguayo, the GM feels that he snared first-round talents in cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and defensive end Noah Spence. In 2015, Licht says he also hit it big.

We think we got four last year,” Licht told Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report, referring to quarterback Jameis Winston, left tackle Donovan Smith, guard Ali Marpet, and linebacker Kwon Alexander . “That’s the goal – to get multiple first-round draft picks each year. When it’s all said done, to look back and say, ‘We got multiple first-round picks in this draft’ – that was the goal.”

While you ponder Licht’s assessment of his last two drafts (and his evaluation of Aguayo), here’s more out of the South divisions:

  • New Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken admits that he wasn’t a big fan of Winston prior to the 2015 draft. Today, the former Southern Miss head coach isn’t afraid to admit that he has had a change of heart. “It’s who he is, how he’s wired,” Monken said, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I think that’s one thing that’s a misnomer. I think from the outside you would’ve looked at it with all the things that were publicized in the past about him and who he is. I was dead wrong. He wants to win as much as we do. He’s a competitive joker, man, he’s smart, he’s intelligent…you can win a lot of games with guys like that.”
  • Jeff Linkenbach‘s contract with the Jaguars is for one season and will pay $810K, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The guard/tackle has 86 appearances and 36 starts on his NFL resume.
  • The Jaguars got some bad news on Thursday when they learned that first-round pick Jalen Ramsey will have to undergo surgery to fix a knee injury. Depending on the second opinion and the treatment option he goes with, Ramsey could reportedly miss 4-6 weeks or 4-6 months. If all goes well, however, he’ll be ready for the start of training camp.

Buccaneers Sign Vernon Hargreaves

Four first-round picks have now formally signed their rookie contracts, with cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, the 11th overall pick last Thursday, joining Laremy Tunsil, Eli Apple, and Keanu Neal. Hargreaves signed his deal with the Buccaneers earlier today, the team announced via its website.Vernon Hargreaves

Hargreaves, who played his college ball at Florida, was the second cornerback to come off the board in the 2016 draft, having been selected one spot behind Apple, after the Buccaneers traded down from No. 9 to No. 11. He’ll compete for a starting job in Tampa Bay’s secondary this summer, joining free agent signee Brent Grimes at or near the top of the club’s new-look cornerback depth chart.

The four-year contract signed by Hargreaves comes with a fifth-year option for 2020, as is the case for all rookie deals for first-round picks. The overall value of Hargreaves’ pact is about $14.178MM, with a signing bonus worth $8.511MM, according to Over the Cap’s data.

In addition to locking up Hargreaves, the Buccaneers also confirmed that they’ve signed linebacker Devante Bond, the first of two players the team selected in the sixth round on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Rumors: Draft, CBs, Jason Jones

Landing a cornerback – and perhaps more than one – is the Dolphins’ top priority in this year’s draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a lock to take one with the No. 13 pick, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

According to Jackson, if Miami opts for the best player available in the first round, and that player is a non-cornerback, there’s a belief the team could still land a quality CB at No. 42 and/or No. 73. Jackson mentions Miami’s Artie Burns, Baylor’s Xavien Howard, and Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller as a few potential targets.

Here’s more on the Dolphins from Jackson, including several notes on their possible draft plans:

  • If running back Ezekiel Elliott or linebacker Myles Jack slip to No. 13, the Dolphins would have interest in both players. The team recently sent a contingent to Los Angeles for a private workout with UCLA’s Jack.
  • Some Dolphins scouting and front office people are resistant to the idea of drafting Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III if he’s on the board at No. 13, since the team would prefer a big, physical cornerback.
  • Miami is intrigued by Houston’s William Jackson III and Ohio State’s Eli Apple, but they may not be great value at No. 13, so trading down might be a consideration. Dolphins VP Mike Tannenbaum said today that there have been preliminary conversations about the No. 13 pick, tweets James Walker of ESPN.com.
  • The Dolphins have discussed the possibility of taking one of the top offensive tackles in the first round and moving him to guard – at least temporarily – but that seems to be an unlikely outcome.
  • On special teams, the Dolphins are keeping an eye out for help in the return game and potential competition for kicker Andrew Franks. Special teams coach Darren Rizzi has privately worked out multiple kicker prospects, including Nick Rose of Texas and Daniel Sobolewski of Albright.
  • The Dolphins continue to have conversations with free agent defensive end Jason Jones, and there’s mutual interest between the two sides in working something out.

Draft Rumors: Jackson, Buckner, Chargers

NFL GMs have yet to get the results of combine drug tests, but there are already rumors swirling about failed tests for prospects, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets. Among the rumors is that a likely first-round pick has flunked his test.

While we wait to see if a top prospect has hurt his stock, let’s take a look at the latest NFL Draft rumors:

  • Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) is becoming more and more convinced that William Jackson III will be the second cornerback to come off the board in the draft, following Jalen Ramsey. Reading between the lines, that could indicate a drop on draft boards for Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
  • Deforest Buckner told Justin Hopkins of 247 Sports (Twitter link) that he is hearing from the Chargers, Cowboys, Jaguars, and Titans “pretty regularly.” The Chargers, Cowboys, and Jaguars all had previously reported workouts with Buckner, but the addition of the Titans is new.
  • Clemson inside linebacker B.J. Goodson is visiting the Colts and Giants this week, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Goodson, who has also visited with the Jets, has had 15 total visits and private workouts. Goodson had 108 tackles last season with 14 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks.
  • Louisiana Tech Kenneth Dixon spent Wednesday with the Texans, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He has also had pre-draft visits with the Ravens and Patriots, Rapoport adds. As previously reported, Dixon also met with San Francisco.
  • Northwestern fullback Dan Vitale is drawing the most interest from the Buccaneers, Patriots, and Bears, freelance reporter Jenna Laine tweets. Vitale has drawn interest because of his ability to play fullback, H-back, and tight end.

Draft Rumors: 4/10/16

Let’s take a look at some of today’s draft rumors. We will update this page as necessary throughout the day:

  • Memphis QB Paxton Lynch will meet with the Jets on Thursday, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Jets, of course, are still looking to bring back free agent signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the two sides remain far apart on contract terms. Lynch is widely-regarded as one of the top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. Mehta confirms that Gang Green will also visit with Ohio State TE Nick Vannett tomorrow.
  • Alcorn State QB John Gibbs, Jr. worked out for the Texans at their local prospect workout yesterday, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. As we learned yesterday, prospects like Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah and UCLA OT Caleb Benenoch were also in attendance.
  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), there are several themes emerging with regards to the top CB prospects in this year’s draft. Some evaluators prefer Ohio State’s Eli Apple to Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III–Hargreaves has been ranked almost universally as the best corner in the draft outside of Jalen Ramsey–and some prefer Miami’s Artie Burns to Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander and Houston’s William Jackson III.
  • Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman–who was not even invited to this year’s Scouting Combine–has already visited the Vikings, Saints, and Dolphins, and is set to visit with the Raiders, Seahawks, and Bengals this week, according to NFL Network’s Rand Getlin. (Twitter links). Braverman had a whopping 109 receptions for 1,367 yards last season.