Position Battle: Cornerback

April 19th, 2016

Which player may be the odd man out?

It’s April. The draft hasn’t yet kicked off. The season doesn’t begin for roughly five months.

So in Joe’s eyes, it is a little early to start talking position battles.

For example, we don’t know who the Bucs will draft. Second, the Bucs very well could find gems lying along the side of the road. Remember: the Bucs rescued two starters for the offensive line after preseason games began.

But there is one position intriguing Joe right now, and good guy Rick Brown of TodaysPigskin.com picked up on it as well. That is the battle for starting cornerbacks.

At cornerback, while Grimes will mind one side, there will be a fight for the other starting position as well as the backup spots. Tampa Bay still has former Pro Bowler Alterraun Verner, former second-round pick Johnthan Banks, free agent Josh Robinson and Jude Adjei-Barimah, who started seven games as an undrafted rookie.

Here is the thing: There can only be two starting corners. So who starts? Just given the recent production and money invested, Joe assumes Brent Grimes is one. What of the other position? Johnthan Banks or Alterraun Verner?

The reason Joe asks is the guy who doesn’t start at corner between Banks or Verner is possibly not returning in 2017. Banks is a free agent after this season, and if Verner cannot be rehabilitated from the trauma he was exposed to residing in Lovie Smith’s doghouse, it’s difficult to imagine bringing back a guy who has been a backup two straight seasons and is reportedly owed $6.5 million in 2017.

38 Responses to “Position Battle: Cornerback”

  1. Howard Cosell Says:

    Things will get really crazy once VH is thrown into the mix.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Things will get really good once “a good D-line” is thrown into the mix.

  3. csb76 Says:

    The guy starting opposite Miko’s husband shouldn’t be Hargraves.
    We swap picks with the Brownies (+ a current disposable roster spot)…then trade back down with Dallas (who wants a QB of the future)…and rake in Bosa as fast as a 7 year old on a sugar high playing hungry-hungry hippo

  4. MarineBucsFan Says:

    Hell I hope both Banks and Verner play lights out this year. How good of a problem that would be!!!

  5. Etzel Says:

    Which also poses the question… who’s playing nickel??

  6. Espo Says:

    A nickel is basically a starter.

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    Verner made some good plays in the slot last year playing both pass and run. Banks is taller so if he plays well enough to start, it would be better to have him on the outside.

    I’m really hoping that last year’s defensive backfield “fiasco” was mainly a result of bad scheme and bad coaching. We shall see…

    Also hoping we draft a good safety no later than 3rd round this year.

  8. Joe Says:

    A nickel is basically a starter.

    Sure, but is $6.5 million a year the going rate for a “basically a starter?”

  9. SB with Jameis Says:

    Hey Joe, I hope you write that 7 round fantasy Bucs draft. Just make yourself the Bucs’ temporary GM. You could title it……… “G.M Joe” 🙂

  10. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    This position is very intriguing to me as well…not so much the starters battle, but how much the performance improves this year. It’s going to be a great indicator of just how horrible a job the last regime (so-called defensive gurus) did

  11. Dave Says:

    Verner was the better nickel guy.
    When those 5 guys are listed I don’t see the need to draft CB, makes it seem like it’ll definitely be DE and then in Rd 2-3 a safety.

  12. T in Orlando Says:


    If Banks wins the starting job over Vener, and both play very good to great, I could absolutely see both back next year, along with Grimes, with only Banks needing a new contact. This is assuming a high draft pick is not invested in the position just over a week, in which case it wouldn’t make sense to keep both in 2017.

  13. Joe Says:

    SB with Jameis:


  14. martinii Says:

    I am not sold on CB at 9. Neither am I sold on Hargreaves. I think we can find a bigger, faster corner down the board. In fact this is one of those years (with the exception of Ramsey) that I am really not sold on many of the top prospects. For example and keep in mind I am an Ohio State alum, lets look at Bosa, Eli Apple, Zeke Elliot, and Vonn Bell, not to mention several other OSU standouts that will go in high rounds. These guys made each other look better because the entire team was packed with standout players. Whats going to happen when they land on a team like the Browns or the Titans, their going to be rookies playing against Pros.
    Jameis was an exception and I realize my theory probably doesn’t hold much water, but I’d rather see a kid like Noah Spence, from EKU, who carried a small team on his back get drafted than some of of the top 10 prospects listed today. Sorry for the rant, but this year is a big ? to me.

  15. 813bucboi Says:

    @howard…I agree…once vhg is in the mix the writing will be on the wall for whoever doesn’t play between banks and verner…imo I say see if banks can rebound…if not try him at free safety(like devin mccourty)…the kid has talent…surely between licht, smith and dirk they should figure out a way to maximize his talent…I think verner is the odd man out and may get released or traded between training camp and preseason…either way we basically have 4 cbs that will be playing on a 1year contract or have huge question marks over their heads….GO BUCS!!!!

  16. 813bucboi Says:

    @martini….bigger and faster at the cb position doesn’t mean productive(i.e. Myron lewis)…imo there are 2 sure fire prospect and that’s tunsil and Stanley…ramsey has a lot of question marks with ball skills, technique and footwork to be a cb….his best position is free safety…in the pass 15years I only saw 1 free safety that was worthy of a top 3 pick and that was the late sean taylor….as for bosa, I think he would be a great fit in tampa…he played against the best completion in hs and did pretty darn well at osu…I think he can dominate at left de just like Michael strahan…I hope the bucs are targeting bosa, Stanley and Hargreaves in that order even tho im a huge gator fan…GO BUCS!!!

  17. William Walls Says:

    Does anyone know if Banks’ skill set translates well as a nickel? If so, I’d be happy to put Verner opposite Grimes and have Banks and Robinson compete for the nickel spot.

  18. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Thank you Dave these folks are about to be shocked to see us not draft at this position.

  19. Espo Says:

    @ Joe

    If it’s a shut down nickel, why not? You usually don’t seem to care about where Glazer cash is allocated.

  20. RustyRhinos Says:

    Thanks csb76

    Now I, again have this song in my head.

  21. pick6 Says:

    the bucs have spent somewhere between $15 and $18 million to man the CB position. every single one of those contracts can be voided with no penalty after this year. I think the money player A or B will earn in 2016 takes a back seat to finding one or two guys who you are willing to pay in the years that follow. who cares if your Nickel CB is making $8 mil this year? it’s sunk cost, and it makes no sense to give yourself a lesser chance to win to justify a contract that isn’t hurting your cap this year and that you can flush down the toilet anytime

  22. RustyRhinos Says:

    Having several hungry, productive experienced CB’s compete for the DB positions open is a good thing right?

    I agree we do need a another CB this draft, just not as lofty as some here would like.
    Go Bucs!

  23. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Can someone who wants us to take VHIII explain the love to me? I seriously am interested in what you’re seeing.

    What I saw from him was a guy who got routinely beat by NFL caliber players and was absolutely TORCHED in the SEC title game & bowl game

  24. 813bucboi Says:

    @cream…if that’s all you saw than you only saw about 5 seconds of film on him which is not nearly enough…yeah he got beat by kb when he was a 18year true freshman…yeah he got beat by a.cooper who became a top 5 pick…but name a cb that hasn’t gotten beat….the sec title game if you watch the play calvin ridley scored on was not the fault of vhg it was the safeties responsibility…vhg was just smart enough to recognize were the ball was going and tried his best to make a play….obviously you only watch highlights on espn or you would know that vhg has the best cb skill set that will easily transition to the nfl….his footwork technique and ball skills are the best of any cb prospect entering the draft(including ramsey)…vhg is extremely quick and very versatile giving him the ability to play slot or on the outside….go back and watch his film vs Jarvis landry…odell beckham…rashad greene…laquan Treadwell…Jordan Matthews…all nfl wr’s….what he lacks in size he makes up with his brains and heart…what he lacks in speed he makes up with technique and proper angles…

    question for you…who do you think is better and why?….what nfl wrs did you see him routinely beat by?…GO BUCS!!!

  25. LifeOfABucFan Says:


    I couldn’t have said it better than 813..

    Get VH3!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  26. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    813 – Nah I watched a lot of UF football but he just never stood out for me. I’ll check out some of those games you mentioned.

    As an FSU fan I could rattle off numerous games where Ramsey just took over (UM was the gem of the bunch though) and just never recalled VHIII taking over a game like that. Like I said, he got torched his last 2 games which is what’s sticking out for me bc it’s the most recent.

  27. Kevin Says:

    Todays game has three starting corners not two. How often are there three wrs on the field or more….ALOT!

    I see banks playing on the outside press like he shouldve been doing since he was drafted

  28. Kevin Says:

    The more I look at the fact we actually have a real coaching staff and we have three capable corners on the roster, i wouldnt draft VH number 9. Doesnt seem to be worth the pick. Better talent available at other positions. Trade back into the first and draft spence

  29. Bucs53 Says:

    Please someone make a rational argument for VH. Our division is littered with TALL receivers, and he sucked against tall receivers in college—because he is too SHORT.

    Please refute that.

  30. Trubucfan22 Says:

    I think verner wins the battle. He has more experience and the cb coach knows him well. Banks is a good player and will be around long term. Grimes is only here short term, and unless verner really impresses he could be out the door soon, with his big contract. Banks will be a cheaper option down the road.

  31. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Verner has 6+million reasons to be very impressive this season. Go back and watch the film of Verner against Antonio Brown two season’s ago. He mirrored him step for step all game. The touchdown pass Brown caught was when he pushed Verner in the back in the in zone. In Pitt I was not surprised to not see a flag. Heat Miller I believe was tight end that reaked havoc that game not Brown.

  32. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    I wouldn’t just pencil in Grimes as a starter. He would fit the 3rd CB role way better. Covering the slot at his age, is where he will work best. He has declined the last 2 seasons. So assuming he performs at a high caliber level is a little wishful to me. If we draft VH3, he will be one starter. And if would be tough to imagine starting 2 CBs that are both under 6′. I would bet a ton of money that at least 1 of Verner or Banks, has a great comeback season.

    All this depends on the draft. Once that’s over. The picture will be a lot clearer.

  33. MarkBucFan Says:

    You can’t blame Lovie for the talent on defense(but you can for the horrendous out-of-date def he ran). The guy was given one draft pick and only reasonable cap space to make his mark. He did unearth a few gems (eg:Jaq Smith, McDougal, and Sterling Moore while he lasted). This was the year he makes a Def splash via a heavy draft in a heavly talented Def draft class. His success on def ends is terrible so prbly a good thing Licht is calling the shots on this one but just had to point out his terrible hand…

  34. 813bucboi Says:

    @cream…please rattle them off…ramsey got beat pretty bad vs Houston, Clemson and gt this year…in the bowl game he got cooked a few times…I would like to know some quality wrs he went up against….explain how he took over a game?…judging by his production he never did such a thing…GO BUCS!!!

  35. hamilton Says:

    bank will not make the team,its been for years.he is a bust,june play better then him an he was a rfa .stop blaming the coach.

  36. Newbucsfan2 Says:

    Go Get Ramsey…problem solved!

  37. Cobraboy Says:

    In today’s NFL, over 50% of defensive snaps utilize 3 CB’s.

  38. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:


    813 laid out the perfect argument about VH3. He may be short but so is Haden, Revis, and tons of other CB’s. Size isn’t as important as technique and football IQ. He has tons of both. He also has the best feet and hands. Something Ramsey has 0 of. He can’t catch anything.

    I personally like Mackenzie Alexander, but his no int’s really worries me. Same for Ramsey. VH3 dominated his man about 90% of the games he played in. That’s why he is rated as the #1 cover corner in this draft. I mean come on, Ramsey is going to be a safety in the NFL simply for the fact, he can’t catch anything.