“There’s Not A Team In The League That Wouldn’t Like To Have Vernon Hargreaves As Their Nickel”

March 27th, 2018

Joe got to the heart of the matter with Dirk Koetter today on disappointing third-year cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

You can hear the audio exchange in full above, as Joe joined Koetter for breakfast at the NFL Owners Meetings.

(Joe feasted on eggs, oatmeal, fruit and various bread products at the swanky Ritz-Carlton. Koetter had nothing, he said, because he didn’t want food in his teeth for the cameras.)

Koetter has often said that first-round draft picks are supposed to start and contribute right away. That’s just the way the league is, Koetter says.

So Joe wanted to know now that Hargreaves started in Year 1 but fell off dramatically in Year 2, where Koetter stands as far as expectations for Hargreaves. Or is Hargreaves just another guy battling for a job at this point.

“We need Vernon to come back and play well and I think he will,” Koetter said. “You know, two things about Vernon. One, he had the hamstring injury which lingered a long time. Vernon did not have a great year outside. Vernon played good at nickel, and you’re in nickel 65 percent of the time. I mean, if Vernon was your starting nickel and you had another guy you liked at the other corner opposite [Brent] Grimes, there isn’t another team in the league that wouldn’t like to have Vernon Hargreaves as their nickel. You usually don’t pick a guy in the first round to be your nickel. Stuff works out how it works out. Vernon is going to be a big part of what we do. I know he’s anxious to get started. He wants to be an every down player. But at the very least, Vernon’s going to be our starting nickel.”

Great, candid take by Koetter there and very high praise for Hargreaves’ work at nickel. Off the top of Joe’s head, Hargreaves only put in roughly four games there.

It sure would be unique if the Bucs ended up drafting a nickel with a premium first-round pick. That’s not how you draw it up, but if he’s good in his role, Joe won’t complain. That still beats the roughly 50 percent bust rate for first-rounders.

64 Responses to ““There’s Not A Team In The League That Wouldn’t Like To Have Vernon Hargreaves As Their Nickel””

  1. tmaxcon Says:

    Gambling on a short, slow and stupid midget cb is a total buc move that will assist in keeping the basement streak in tact.

  2. tmaxcon Says:

    Wasting a 1st rd pick on a 7th rd talent with mish for brains will bit this team on the arse again and again until they wash their hands of this huge mistake… just another failed local feel good story…

  3. Lamarcus Says:

    I remember alot of Bucs fans just drooled over the idea picking VH3 in draft……

  4. Architek Says:

    Translation: we misssed

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    Lamarcus Says:

    I remember alot of Bucs fans just drooled over the idea picking VH3 in draft……

    Of course they were excited choirboys and failed local feel good stories are what some buc fans care about way more than actual success or talent.

  6. Joeypoppems Says:

    He is fine as a nickel. Plus having a good nickel is becoming pretty important. It sucks that is what we got out of a 1st round pick tho.

    Now address the outside CB spot.

  7. SCBucsFan Says:

    He’s OK as a nickel but who plays the other side? That’s the question I want answered.

  8. SteveK Says:

    #11 overall bust!

  9. 911bucs Says:

    Easy on the carbs Joe.

  10. SCBucsFan Says:

    SteveK if he is a solid nickel then he’s not a bust; not a great pick but if he plays 50% of defensive plays and does it well then he’s a solid player, not a star but certainly not a bust.

  11. Architek Says:

    You don’t draft a nickel that high – how is that okay???

  12. tmaxcon Says:


    Vh3 is garbage a solid turf not a solid nickel

  13. SteveK Says:


    If Heargraves makes a pro bowl as a nickel corner, then I’ll concede.

    Just sucks to think we used a premium pick on a player that can’t play outside.

  14. tmaxcon Says:


    You’d be a defense attorneys dream juror. You defend every failure on the team

  15. tmaxcon Says:

    Turd not turf

  16. SCBucsFan Says:

    I agree its not what we wanted but its not like he turned out to be the TMax of CBs

  17. tmaxcon Says:


    That’s all you got. That is as weak as the midgets celebrations after being burnt and while the receiver was over thrown.

  18. johnnybuc Says:

    basically confirms that they are drafting a corner

  19. Bobby M. Says:

    Nickel CB in the 1st rd….undersized DE that can’t stay healthy in the 2nd….followed by trading up in the 2nd for a kicker that’s out of the league.

    A visionary at the GM position

  20. Lamarcus Says:

    We have to admit VH3 is knocking a bust doors right now. Grimes was a bridge player to buy some time for vh3 progress. That didn’t happen. Grimes got another year means vh3 is not ready …..or never will be.

  21. firethecannons Says:

    gotta admit I totally agree with Tmax on VH3, kid did not play well anywhere including nickel. He is great in preseason only. call it like it is — not bashing just saying the truth. He sucked ALL year long.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    That clip made me think Koetter is leaning toward a CB with the first pick. He seemed pretty resigned to VHIII at Nickle.

  23. Lamarcus Says:

    The scheme doesn’t help him either.

  24. gotbbucs Says:

    @SteveK and tmaxx

    What are we supposed to do about it at this point, cry and piss and moan about a draft pick that isn’t quite living up to expectations after two years? I know that’s what you two clowns choose to do on every Bucs related subject. What are you still doing rooting for this team. There must be some perfect team out there somewhere that never makes a wrong personnel move that you can go nut hug.

    Get a fking life some if you. Quit beating the sh!t out if these 24 year old football players on a blog site.

    Tmax, I happen to be on your side with the GMC subject, definitely not to your extent, but im also of the belief that he has had his chance to live up to his potential and has fallen short. I gave him a good 4 or 5 years before I detested him though. Hargraeves and some of these other guys that get their a$$’s stomped in daily on this site haven’t even put in a solid two years before you wingnuts decide to crucify them.

    Settle down and let these guys figure the NFL game out before you send them to the trash heap.

    PS…this used to be kind of a haven to me as far as Bucs news was concerned and there were actually some intelligent discussions that we’re had in the comments section, now it’s just the same crybabies every day on every thread bitching about the same exact crap, whether it’s even related to the story matter or not. I miss the “old” guys that used to be on here. I miss the days of Steve White giving his analysis. In my opinion, with all do respect, there needs to be less Joe and more It a and other quest bloggers.

  25. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Hargreaves has four or
    More int’s this season. You heard it first….

  26. tmaxcon Says:


    Vh3 lost the benefit of the doubt with his non stop clown show while getting burnt repeatedly. I’m fairly easy on young guys unless they act the fool and the bust was a fool non stop.

  27. Chris in WA Says:

    That’s all fine and dandy but who are our outside corners currently? Brent Grimes, who will be 35 when he starts training camp this year, and Ryan Smith.

  28. SteveK Says:


    Our team is terrible, a basement dweller. We, as fans, are able to observe this and share our frustrations.

    VH3 needs to get better in a hurry. Seeing Ryan Smith surpass him on the depth chart is telling. It would be nice to draft BPA all the way, but when our CB drafted 11th overall fails to live up to expectations, then it causes unrest.

    I remain hopeful that Heargraves will improve, and I would’ve passed hard on a CB without size and speed in the first round.

    My apologies that you take the feedback given to heart. I hope you have a good day, and despite your wishes, I’m a Buccaneer Fan for life, even when they leave me feeling like a Browns’ fan, gotta love my Bucs aka Yucks!

    I too share your sentiment on GMC! Wish we could’ve traded him and signed Suh. Oh well, maybe we can still treads him. He is the face of Buccaneer futility. He is a good human being, but not a tough SOB needed for a defensive lineman.

  29. Chris in WA Says:

    I just really wished we could have picked up Talib this offseason. All he cost the Rams was a 5th traded to the Broncos. Even if Grimes still stays alive for all 16 games this season he will be a 35 year old corner. His replacement should already be started to be penciled in by now. And if VH3 is going to be a nickle corner, who will be the other corner? You can have an elite CB on one side of the field but if the other side has Ryan Smith guess which side is getting burned?

    Currently we have a slightly above average outside corner, a backup corner, and a good nickle corner. Not a lot of inspiring confidence but I have hope the revamped D-Line will get some pressure to make the DB’s look greater than the sum of their weak parts.

  30. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Many fans hated the VHIII pick.

    I wasn’t one of them and I’ll own it. His tape was good and he was the #1 pure CB in the draft per most analysts. His measurable’s are on par with many top CBs. To say there’s no CB his size that ran his 40 doing well is ignoring guys like Chris Harris / Brent Grimes / Casey Hayward.

    Hell Casey Hayward was an all pro CB and is 5’11 185 and ran a 4.57 40. He was in his 5th year in the league by the time his game clicked. VHIII jumped 5″ higher than him in the vert.

    It’s not normal CBs come in and dominate as rookies outside of like Peters/Lattimore/Ramsey recently. Bunch of other highly selected corners have failed -and Peters/Ramsey came into much better situation in terms of a pass rush / defense they got to play on and develop in.

  31. SteveK Says:

    Lord corn,

    Good points. Joe mentioned yesterday in his Monday cup of joe podcast that he’s hearing “red flags” about vh3. Perhaps vh3 lacks the competitive spirit needed to succeed? Idk, but his play last year was disheartening. Tough to watch the 11th pick of the 2016 draft get roasted regularly.

  32. Pickgrin Says:

    “you don’t pick a guy (high) in the 1st round to be your nickle – but – Uhhhh – you know – stuff works out how it works out”

    Geez – SMH

    Tunsil was the pick

  33. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Yeah if he fails in this league it’s going to be a mental thing – not a lack of ability.

    What’s weird is I don’t recall any mental red flags with him in the draft process; but even if he checked all the boxes it’s hard to predict how people will acclimate to the NFL.

    Hoping for the comeback story this year lol.

  34. SteveK Says:


    Agree exponentially. Gas mask and all, Tunsil was the pick.

  35. Lord Cornelius Says:

    PFF Fun : Laremy Tunsil graded out basically the same as Donavon Smith last year; and both were worse than Dotson

    If we were to make a different pick there again give me Sheldon Rankins.

  36. 813bucboi Says:

    I wanted VHG and I still think he’s a good CB WHEN the coaches put him in position to be successful…..

    everybody noted how he played much better in the nickel…..that’s only part of the truth…..he plays better when he is at the LOS period!!!!!!…..the scheme and smitty are failing both VHG and ryan smith……

    smitty says he gives them freedom to play where they want….well guess what smitty, only grimes has earned that right to line up where he wants to play……ryan smith and VHG need to be instructed to play at the LOS until they perfect their craft playing off…..that’s the only reason why I didn’t want grimes to be resigned….now the secondary will be handcuffed to play off coverage again…..something that they have proven they cant play and something smitty has failed to teach…..

    the other thing that bothers me is folks blame injuries for the poor play like, LVD….KWON….WINSTON…..GRIMES…..MARPET…..SWEEZY…..DOTSON….AYERS….SPENCE….the list goes on and on……but when it comes to VHG and his injury, its glossed over because folks think he wasn’t worth a first round pick…..BS…..

    switch the scheme and you’ll see a different VHG and ryan smith……play the same off coverage and you’ll see the same poop play….simple as that…..

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!

  37. rrsrq Says:

    The Bucs could’ve stayed where they were and picked Eli Apple, how is that working out for the G-Men.

  38. Capt.Tim Says:

    Its pretty obvious in most cases.

    I was furious the day they drafted Hargreaves and Spence
    Even though I liked Spence at LBer.
    Posted that the day we drafted them.

    Same obvious mistakes this year.
    Fitzpatrick is a Safety. Lacks fluidity to play CB in NFL.
    Ward has too frail of a frame. Too slightly built to muscle up.
    Big NFL recievers will knock him on his butt every time he tries to play press coverage.
    There are anaylst out there- screaming this to high Heaven
    But some stupid team will draft one if them as a CB- and end up with another VH3 type bust.
    Just hope, for once, its not the Bucs wasting a pick.

    Vh3 is exactly who most smart NFL scouts thought he was.
    A short, Slow, immature CB, who lacks ability to leap while moving. He also has tight hips., he has trouble transitioning from back pedal to running. Which is why he gets slaughtered on “go” routes.

    Nickles play crossing routes. They don’t backpedal often.

    Hopefully the Bucs Look at the huge red stop signs on some of these guys.
    The Bucs( and others) see some of these huge problems, yet thing they can coach around the huge problems- to get benefit of the players good qualities.

    THE Bucs have not, in any instance, been able to do that.

  39. 813bucboi Says:

    im not buying any of this “red flag” crap……there were no red flags in HS…..no red flags in college…..no red flags his rookie year……but all of a sudden there’s red flags……that’s BS……

    I can tell you that VHG developed into a shut down CB by the 11th grade…..by his senior year in HS was the best CB in the country and #4 overall recruit in the country……in college developed into the best pure CB in the draft……had a decent rookie year…..horrible 2nd year……see the trend?……its coaching and scheme!!!!!!

    he got better from HS to UF…..decent rookie year and then fell off the cliff in year 2…..ryan smith is also evidence that’s its coaching and scheme…..

    fix the coaching…..fix the scheme…..fix the CB’s…..

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!

  40. doctor_berto Says:

    How did most fans know that Hargreaves wasn’t outside corner material but not the GM and coach? I was so angry when we picked him.

  41. Jonzey17 Says:

    I think Hargreaves is going to be the man this year. you can’t really tell because the QB had so much time, because we didn’t have a pass rush.

  42. doctor_berto Says:


    No, Hargreaves did not have a decent rookie year.

  43. 813bucboi Says:

    capt.tim says:
    Vh3 is exactly who most smart NFL scouts thought he was.
    A short, Slow, immature CB, who lacks ability to leap while moving. He also has tight hips., he has trouble transitioning from back pedal to running. Which is why he gets slaughtered on “go” routes.
    Nickles play crossing routes. They don’t backpedal often.
    well according to SI and others your dead wrong……

    Strengths: Freakishly agile player who *crouches low in his stance to reduce unnecessary motion and springs into coverage* in a flash. Exceptional stride length and quickness, turning quickly to zero in on the catch. Sets the angle on crossing routes, putting himself in a better position to catch the ball than the receiver in some cases. *Quick and natural backpedal* allows him to keep the action in front of him and adjust easily when contested on intermediate and deep passes. Plants and fires to the ballcarrier, reducing yards after catch. Switches gears very well—****his recovery speed is among the best in this draft class*****. Highly aware player who obviously studies tendencies and knows where the ball is going. Plays and acts like he’s a ****few inches taller than he really is****.

    and the “smart scouts” suggest that man press is his best scheme…….

    ****Aggressiveness and short-area quickness make him a natural in press coverage*****—*****he gets a good punch at the line and will mirror routes from start to finish*****. Has no issue transitioning from press man to bail coverage, and doesn’t fall apart on comebacks and quick angles
    but smitty forces a man press CB to play off coverage…..brilliant!!!!!!….incompetence at its finest!!!!!

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!!

  44. 813bucboi Says:


    obviously you don’t watch buc games!!!!!!!

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!!

  45. Capt.Tim Says:

    Because teams think they can”scheme around” a players weaknesses.
    It Never works, but they have such huge egos- it causes NFL teams to draft bad players- that the Average fan would not.

    Watch what I say about Densel Ward.

    Every single NFL team knows that he is too slightly built to play CB in the NFL.
    But some team will draft him early in round one.
    And he will be a bust.

    I have some ideas on why. But Really- I cant explain why a team like the Bucs, draft a player that everyone knows wont make it.
    Go back and read the post on draft day.
    There were alot of posters that knew Hagreaves wasn’t going to be an NFL player.
    The truth was out there( cue X-Files Music)

  46. jerseybuc Says:

    Good. Keep him there. Let’s get a legit YOUNG corner in the draft to start opposite of Grimes.

  47. Bucsfanman Says:

    Why do people keep saying he’s “fine as a nickel”?! His sample size is 4 games according to this article. In his 2 years here, the only reputation he’s EARNED is that of a finger-wagging buffoon who celebrates dropped and overthrown passes!
    His best bet is to work his way back and stop acting like a moron on the field. Frankly, we could use his help.

  48. colin Says:

    The talent in the 2016 draft was historically BAD and thats why Hargraves was a first round pick. Go back and look at the players taken behind him. There are a lot of players that did not work out. The Joes should really let this Hargraves was a bad first round pick thing because it was a tough year. Especially for Corners. If he can be an inside DB then thats what he is. Thats the same position Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James play too

  49. firethecannons Says:

    are you kidding me? kid had no interceptions last year and lucked into one year #1, had almost no passes defensed, last year he forgot how to tackle also, the only tackle was in the endzone after the touchdown. His behavior is weird too. Give it up and state the facts–he sucks and needs to ride the pine until the Bucs get a decent coach to get through to this kid how to play. We might as well acquire Eli Apple and set them both up for personal training-maybe the two of them could get competetive. Really–he sucked and is a big miss on Licht’s part.

  50. NFLNut Says:


    The 2016 Draft was bad … but it was really bad for the Bucs!

    Bucs: Hargreaves, Spence, Aguayo, Ryan Smith, Bennenoch, Bond and Dan Vitale = D- draft

    Saints: Michael Thomas, Sheldon Rankins and Vonn Bell = A draft

    Falcons: Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and Austin Hooper = A draft

    Panthers: Vernon Butler, James Bradberry and Darryl Worley = B- draft

    Hindsight 20/20 Bucs Draft: Keanu Neal, James Bradberry, Yannick Ngakoue, Jordan Howard, Tyreek Hill and Rico Gathers = A++++++ draft

    Now, I’m NOT killing Licht, I’m a Licht fan and feel he’s a top 16 or so GM and is having a great offseason, and I know that 20/20 hindsight drafts are rather ridiculous … but I still had fun typing the above, so it is what it is.


  51. NFLNut Says:

    Capt. Tim,

    I don’t think Denzel Ward will bust, but we’ll see … he is small and slight indeed … but so is Brent Grimes and many other top CB’s.

    Do you prefer another pure CB in this draft, such as Joshua Jackson, Donte Jackson, Jaire Alexander, Mike Hughes, Tavarus McFadden, Holton Hill, etc?

    This is a deep CB draft!

  52. Tnew Says:

    Most scouts projected him as a slot corner. Koetter saw him as a slot corner, when you look at his post draft comments. Nickel/slot corners play 60% or more of snaps. At Slot his long speed isn’t exposed. Now he needs to learn how to blitz off the edge. The surprise is the Bucs tried to make him an outside corner.

  53. James Craig Marlow Says:

    Can’t afford to draft another nickel, because they are a dime a dozen in the NFL, and that’s just my two cents worth on this subject.

  54. Rojas Says:

    From what I’ve read about VH3 he’s a man corner.. Putting him to line up 5 yards off everytime doesn’t help.

  55. Bossmode Says:

    The kid has talent but need to be put in a situation to win up to this point he has been. Either with poor pass rush or coaching even grimes gave up some catches when the throw his way with the pass rush. Half of the players you wanted the bucs to sign this off season had slow starts to there career. And most of them got it together on contract years. He may never be a true shut down corner but should be a good starter.

  56. Bossmode Says:

    I will add to that corner like Fuller, Tre Waynes,both Bengal corner etc look like bust but turned it on last year.

  57. Capt.Tim Says:

    Yup- thats s great list of CBs there.
    Jaire Alexander would be my target, but there are lots of others.
    Good year For rd 2-5 CBs!
    Just avoid top couple.

    Um, S.I. Shouldn’t be your font of information. Try Walterfootball, among others. Im not really interested in their opinion. They only focus on Big city teams.

  58. tmaxcon Says:

    keeping a short, slow, and stupid ONE dimensional CB is a waste of a roster spot in today’s passing league. Just admit it was a HUGE reach taking a 6th rd talent in the 1st rd and move on. easily replaced with a more versatile CB who want make an ARSE out of himself weekly. if vh3 is counted on for anything more than guarding Cancer93’s sideline doll collection the bucs are in serious trouble once again.

  59. 813bucboi Says:

    VHG was injuried last year……why does the “team” get to use that injury excuse but VHG doesn’t?…..


    I used SI as 1 example…..walterfootball basically said the same thing…lol….of course you don’t value their option because it doesn’t back your claim….if they said he was going to be a bust, you would’ve jumped all over it…..

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!!

  60. RayJay J Says:

    No shame in playing outside on run downs and moving inside on pass downs… Ronde only had a Hall Of Fame worthy career doing the same thing.

  61. VSVV Says:

    VH3 is a good player for the bucs might need another spark… We can re-unite him in the future with another local bay area player from Wharton High class 2015 – V’Onte Williams CB #9 @ Harding University. He’s very athletic with good speed, decent size for big receivers plus good tackling skills. Scouts should go check him out and plus past and recent highlights below… Thanks.. Yall have a good day.!

    2017 Harding University

    2016 Hutchinson highlights

    2014 Wharton High highlights

    2014 BCP camp

    2014 NUC camp highlight

  62. Rodney Says:

    He’s young hopefully he’ll get better n mature but I still don’t understand all the hate on GMC he’s not ruthless bit he does a good job if he didn’t he wouldn’t be ranked so high

    Top 101 appearances: 5

    As is always the case, Gerald McCoy was the most dominant force in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ defensive front. McCoy has freakish quickness for a defensive tackle and can consistently penetrate into the backfield. That lends itself obviously to pass-rushing, and McCoy notched 47 total pressures across the season, but it also makes him a nuisance in the run game, where his PFF grade of 85.0 was still good enough to rank 21st among all interior defenders.

    PFF Elite Stat: McCoy ranked 10th in both total pressures and pass-rush productivity among interior defenders this year.
    This is this year with really no help cuz Baker sucked n Ayers didn’t have a very good year which I believe was due to injury issues. Speaking of injuries GMC has had his fair share of injuries n played through the pain when they let him. If the new linemen we picked up play well n GMC doesn’t have one of his best seasons ever them maybe y’all can convince me other wise till then he is one of the best d linemen in the league and has been since day one

  63. C. Alaka Says:

    From a honest perspective we drafted VH3 to be a shutdown outside CB. But it will be more than fine if he excels inside @ nickel. Once again like coach Koetter mentioned, the league is nickel 60%+ of the time. He’s basically a starter & that’s what you ask for of your 1st round pix. No complaints here sorry!

  64. denjoe Says:

    Every time Jason and Dirk open their mouths I understand how they took a 9-7 team and made it into a 5-11 team!