Cornerback Issues Closer Than They Appear

February 20th, 2017

Josh Robinson seems to agree that the Bucs’ cornerback situation is in need of a scratch.

It’s hard to find Bucs fans talking about the team’s need at cornerback, but it’s definitely there.

Last year, Tampa Bay launched its season with Johnthan Banks providing quality depth and Alterraun Verner pegged as the starting cornerback opposite Brent Grimes. Rookie Vernon Hargreaves was to begin at nickel corner.

Things changed quickly.

Hargreaves moved outside quickly. Verner proved unworthy of nickel. Banks was cut. And undrafted rookie Javien Ellion took over at nickel as Hey Jude Adjei-Barimah found himself suspended for using performance enhancing drugs.

Josh Robinson? He arrived with diverse and significant experience with the Vikings, but he couldn’t get on the field with the defense.

The 2016 fourth-round pick, Ryan Smith? The regime pegged him as a safety but has abandoned that experiment. There’s optimism in the walls of One Buc Palace that Smith will be a solid cornerback, his college position, but Joe is highly skeptical.

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith doesn’t like to give his top corners a blow, leading Grimes and Hargreaves to play nearly every snap. The Bucs were lucky to stay healthy.

Bottom line: depth and talent is needed at corner, especially if Verner is cut because of his ridiculously high salary ($6.5 million) and considering Grimes turns 34 this summer.

Might the Bucs look for a long corner in the second or third round of the draft to complement Hargreaves?

Perhaps they’ll head to the national champs and Cordrea Tankersley. Here’s a look at him from

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Height: 6-1. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2017): 1-3.

2/11/17: Tankersley had 47 tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up on the season. He played well in 2016, and teams generally targeted the other Clemson defensive backs. … In 2015, Tankersley was part of a tough cornerback duo for Clemson with Mackensie Alexander. Tankersley showed impressive ball skills with five interceptions and nine passes broken up on the year. He also had 48 tackles. While Tankersley played well, teams did throw at him more than Alexander. Tankersley has the size and coverage skills to be a starting corner on the outside in the NFL. Scouting sources say they view Tankersley as a first-round talent.

You won’t find Joe arguing with the Bucs investing in a cornerback.

35 Responses to “Cornerback Issues Closer Than They Appear”

  1. Lunchbox Says:

    I wouldn’t either. There’s a saying, “you can never have too many corners”, which considering our aging CB Grimes, and relative lack of health and experience behind him, another CB in this draft would be as worthwhile, I think, as a Safety for the longterm viability of our defense.

  2. MadMax Says:

    Yeah I like this kid…..also like CB Adoree Jackson (who could fix our return department too). He just might be there when we pick 2nd.

    According to what we do in FA, Im still thinking we should hit D with a high pick. If we go WR, RB, or TE with our 1st, use that 2nd on pass rush or DB.

    3rd? Since TE probably wont be addressed with the first 2 picks, draft Tankersley’s teammate TE Jordan Leggett.

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I think not giving the cb’s a break cost us the Oakland game. They were gassed.

  4. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    hmmm…nothing against the kid as I don’t know a thing about him. But “tankersley” sounds too much like and reminds me too much of “wansley;” whose name will still have me wake up screaming in hot sweats re-living that frikin monday night game against the colts every now and then smh…

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    Yes, we have needs eerywhere. However…another D lineman, good DE helps cover up secondary needs. Because you get a ferocious pass rush, couples with more QB rushes/sacks? Even average cornerbacks make plays.

  6. SB Says:

    It sure would be nice to see Tabor and VH3 on the same team again but I know that won’t happen. We have too many needs to be drafting a CB in the 1st. This draft seems to be Loaded with CB talent. I have seen as many as 6 going in the first round. That generally means a good crop in the later rounds

  7. bucs_365 Says:

    So, CB is a need for Joe, but safety isn’t?

  8. Dewey Selmon Says:

    A great pass rush will always be a cb’s best friend.

  9. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    Just said this 2 days ago. 2nd round will have a lot of Cbs and I think we grab one

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I would rather draft Adoreé Jackson in the later rounds. He’s a returner (8 returns) and is average in pass coverage (developmental). We still have Grimes, so time to develop him.

  11. Wausa Says:

    I agree we need a corner to replace Grimes, however on defense we need safety help and DT help even more.

  12. Joeypoppems Says:

    This is a very good CB class this year. I’m not saying they should definitely go CB round 1, but because there are so many of them, there is a chance a CB can be the BPA on the board at #19. It wouldn’t surprise me if they do end up taking a CB early in this draft.

  13. Another J Says:

    WE need another DE more than we need a corner.

  14. bucs_365 Says:

    Heres what we have at corner:
    * Brent Grimes – Pro Bowler, still playing well
    * Vernon Hargreaves – 1st round pick, expected to improve
    * Jude Adjei-Barimah – has played decent at corner and slot, still improving
    * Ryan Smith – 4th round pick with speed and tacking ability, team sees him as eventual starter at CB
    * Javien Eliot – team seems pleased with his play in the slot as rookie
    * Alterraun Verner – may be dumped due to high salary and inconsistent play, but has played well at times
    Probably re-signed:
    * Josh Robinson – quality special teams gunner and backup CB

    Contrast that with what we have at safety:
    * Keith Tandy – 1/2 year starter, played well… before that, career backup
    * Isaiah Johnson – UDFA safety last year, spent entire season on practice squad
    * 2 free agent guys, neither of whom are special.

    So how is it that J0e thinks corner is a need, but safety isn’t? Just look at the comparison above. These are facts, not alternative facts.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Priorities Joe, we’ve only got 7 picks this year. (WR, RB, TE, Safety, DE, DT, OL) … might also need to grab a LB if Darryl Smith elects to retire. Given where the Bucs are, would rather see us add a CB in free agency than in the draft. And besides, Ryan Smith is going to be fantastic. Has all the attributes of a strong CB (they miscast him as a Safety and wasted much of his development time last year).

  16. gotbbucs Says:

    This is why I say there is only one position on this team that can’t be upgraded, and that’s QB.

    All this “we don’t have a need” at such and such a position is asinine to me. This is a 9-7 team. They won two more games than they lost. The roster is thin as hell everywhere. If there’s a good player out there at any position other than QB, they better damn well be looking. The bottom 1/2 of this roster is interchangeable with guys walking the streets.

  17. Joeypoppems Says:


    Well Grimes is a FA after this season. Verner like you said could, and should get cut. Robinson like you said is a special teamer. Idk how you can say the team sees Ryan Smith as a future starter at CB when they haven’t seen him practice at CB yet. That leaves VH3 who is a starter on 1 side, Elliot who is a slot corner at best, and Jude who is also a slot corner at best.

    I don’t want to speak for Joe, but I took his stance on the Safety position as fine if we get McDougald back, which I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t.

    We can survive with McDougald and Tandy as the two safeties again. Which is why I would put Grimes replacement ahead of a new Safety.

  18. SB Says:

    Grimes’ replacement is WAY more important than Safety. Don’t forget fellas, Safety is the Last line of defense. If you let the play get to the safety level the Defense has already failed.

  19. NFLNut Says:

    I could definitely see the Bucs spending a 3rd or 4th round pick on a corner as an eventual replacement for Grimes

  20. SB Says:

    I must say a bunch of teams are making cuts these last few days. We Have to be able to find a guy that just needs a new system and a new start. C’mon Licht!!!!!!!!

  21. NCFlorIdiot Says:

    In Licht we trust, dude is the real deal IMO… He’s had some misses (even the legends miss), but he has significantly more hits… And what I like the best about him is that he admits when he failed and is not too stuborn/proud to move on from the mistakes… He’s a smart savvy GM, we’re lucky to have him, and I trust who he picks… The Bucs are on the upswing because of him and I think he’s going to rock this off season… My personal and dumb opinion is that we need to keep fortifying the lines with top talent in the draft and make a couple high dollar splash plays in FA to fill in some holes… Licht will get it right, Go Bucs! Thanks Joe for keeping us all in touch!

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    Ryan Smith is actually considered a future safety by the team.

  23. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Bonzai, they switched him to Corner.

  24. Trubucfan22 Says:

    So we have 5 CBs who have started games for the bucs on roster through next season. We have 1 safety that has started games for the bucs… uhhhh… sure we could always use upgrades at all positions, but WE ONLY HAVE 1 SAFETY SIGNED THROUGH NEXT YEAR. The other dudes are camp meat. Until McDougald signs a contract with the bucs, there is no guarantee he will be back. So 5 CBs under contract compared to 1 safety. Now unless Mike Smith is going with a single high safety only defense, we NEED to sign or draft a safety.

    I would actually be ok with drafring or signing Grimes replacement after the upcoming season. It isnt practical to have a second round pick sit the bench for a year when we have major needs at other positions right now. Rifht now we have an ok stable of corner backs, when grimes contract is up then we can cross that bridge, until then focus on making this team better for this season.

  25. bucs_365 Says:

    Ryan Smith started the season as a safety, but began practicing as a corner by about mid-season from comments I’ve read from Koetter and Mike Smith. They like him there. In fact, I believe Koetter spoke of him as an eventual starter there. And Koetter doesn’t blow hot air like Losie Smith did. So I trust that he’s gonna be a quality CB for us.

    On numbers alone, we’re far better off at CB than safety.

  26. Joeypoppems Says:


    A rookie corner this year can be the nickel corner. He doesn’t have to sit on the bench lol.

    I would rather draft a guy this year to be his replacement and learn behind him than draft a guy next year and throw him into the fire as a starter so he can get burned like VH3 did this year. That’s just me tho.

  27. Mike Says:

    Sign micah hide FS and eric berry SS, another HB and DT, and draft a WR, OL, TE

  28. Destinjohnny Says:

    We draft just okay.
    If you want to be great you have to nail your pics.

  29. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I would draft a CB in the 1st round before I draft a RB or TE.

  30. SOEbuc Says:

    I say WR (Davis)/RB (McCaffrey) in first, OL in second, D the rest of the way. Take care of offensive weapons for Jameis in FA. Can’t spend too much though. We gotta save money for the big money up and coming youngsters. Maybe one big name on offense and one on defense. And if davis and McCafferey aren’t there along with O.J., I would love Budda Baker. What a hyped up, speedy, bone crunching, ballhawk we could definitely use.

  31. Jdr Says:

    We need to take the top safetey in the draft… a physical when needed zone saftey… we also need to find a big physical corner after that. However i see th Bucs drafting TJ Howard.

  32. Kevinthepainter Says:

    We so need corners. We also need a more aggresive gameplan on defense. This team needs a lot. Jason licht doesnt even know who hes drafting yet. I believe the glaziers make it rain this offseason. Lots of money to clear out with Martins contract hopefully being restructured and verner being cut. I dunno I still think Mime Smith is playing to soft? This team.needs a lot of building and motivation still to make a suoerbowl run

  33. bucs_365 Says:

    Mike Says:
    February 20th, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Sign micah hide FS and eric berry S

    That just isn’t gonna happen. If they sign 2 safeties in free agency, one of them will be one of our own. Berry isn’t happening.

  34. Kelvin from Santo Domingo Says:

    Joe, I strongly believe the Bucs will draft someone to play either safety or cornerback within rounds 3-5. I just don´t see them investing in anything on the Defensive side of the ball in RD´s 1-2. We need #W4W

  35. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Fwiw, VH3 rarely if ever got burned. Sure his guy may have made a catch, but he was never really beat deep in one on one coverage. He was forced to play a lot of soft sones, and those give up yards, but not big plays. When you say someone is getting burned, i think of it as getting beat deep and made to look silly. VH3 did not get beat like that. I’ve seen D Revis get beat worse than VH3 did last season.

    The Falcons had 3 starting player on defense in tha superbowl. Malcom Butler was a rookie when he made that superbowl winning interception. Rookies can have a huge impact. We currently have no reason to replace grimes. We have many other needs.