Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Expect Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves to get plenty of reps

Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (28) grabs ahold of wide receiver Bernard Reedy (15) during drills at an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) FLCO108

Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (28) grabs ahold of wide receiver Bernard Reedy (15) during drills at an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) FLCO108

TAMPA — Vernon Har­greaves spent a lot of time learning a new position this offseason, playing inside as a slot corner. Although he wasn't first on the rep chart, the Bucs' first-round draft pick this year most likely will be a starter on the depth chart by the time the regular season begins Sept. 11.

"He's going to play," coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday as the team wrapped up its three-day mandatory minicamp. "The guy has made plays every single day. Vernon is the football player we thought (he was) when we drafted him. He's going to play. It will all fall in place. We're very confident Vernon can either play inside in the nickel or outside."

Hargreaves, a former Gator and Wharton High standout, had an interception late in practice Wednesday and knocked down passes in the end zone during a red zone drill Thursday. Though Alterraun Verner and Brent Grimes have been starting at cornerback with the first-team defense, Hargreaves has gotten many reps inside as the slot corner when the offense goes to three wide receivers.

The team believes his athleticism and toughness will make him an asset playing a position similar to that of former Bucs Pro Bowl CB Ronde Barber.

"That's what football is, making plays," Hargreaves said. "When an opportunity comes my way, I've got to be ready. For the most part, I've been ready this minicamp.

"I'm fairly comfortable. Not all the way comfortable because I'm used to playing outside. It's a new position. There's new techniques and things I need to learn. It's a learning process, but I'm enjoying it. The closer you are to the ball, the more times you can touch the ball. So I'm happy about moving inside, of course."

RIGHT PLACE: TE Cameron Brate made a sliding, one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone Thursday, a reminder of how he emerged as a favorite target for QB Jameis Winston a year ago.

"Cam has got an uncanny ability to show up in the red zone, and we saw that again (Thursday)," Koetter said. "The defense also made a lot of plays.

"One of the best things about (Thursday), if you were paying attention early, in the two-minute drill, (we had) unbelievable situations. The first group scored a touchdown; they called us for an illegal pick. The second group, we got a penalty in there, too, so penalties on the offense. Then we tried to get a field goal at the end.

"You can't manufacture enough of those game-ending situations. And even when we screw them up — and we do — (we) go in and show them to the guys on tape and learn from them, because when they come up in real life, we've got to do better than we did."

Brate spent much of his rookie year on the team's practice squad in 2014, catching one pass for 17 yards. Last year he was among the final cuts and later released from the practice squad before signing for the same role with the Saints.

When TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was sidelined with a shoulder injury after a win over the Saints in Week 2, the Bucs re-signed Brate to their active roster. He became a favorite target of Winston's, catching 23 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

HEAT OF THE MOMENT: The final practice period included a minor skirmish among players. Koetter said he has no problem with an occasional flareup at the end of a long, hot practice when players haven't had full contact.

"You want emotion, right? Wouldn't you want to have an emotional team?" Koetter said. "I do. Look, if you (media) guys just watched a two-hour practice and that's what you got out of it, then you're in the wrong spot. If that's your lead story, you're in the wrong spot. It's hot … out here. These guys are working their tail off. Emotions get heated, and guess what? That's football practice. Get over it."

Koetter said practicing without full contact can let steam build up more in some players without the ability to tackle opponents, and he's fine with that.

ET CETERA: WR Vincent Jackson, who did not participate in the first two days of minicamp, participated Thursday and caught a touchdown pass from Winston.

Expect Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves to get plenty of reps 06/16/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2016 9:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Durant's Cameron Myers now one of the state's elite RBs


    There will come a day when Cameron Myers is stopped, when opposing defenders gang up to prevent him from breaking off big gains.

    When? Who knows?

    Durant running back Cameron Myers breaks free for a 39-yard touchdown run against Newsome. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
  2. Check out what this former Buc has cooking in Buffalo


    Leonard Johnson is thrilled to extend his NFL career in Buffalo this season, but whenever his playing days are over, the former Bucs cornerback is ready for life after football.

    He's actually pretty excited.

    Buffalo Bills cornerback Leonard Johnson catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  3. Koetter: Jameis Winston will test shoulder in practice Friday


    Will he? Won't he? It appears the Bucs' uncertainty over whether quarterback Jameis Winston can play through a shoulder injury Sunday at Buffalo will carry up until the final hours before kickoff.

    Jameis Winston didn't throw at practice Wednesday.
  4. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope


    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.
  5. Bucs snapper Garrison Sanborn looking forward to return to Bills


    Throughout his eight seasons with the Bills, whenever former players would come to Buffalo for a game, Garrison Sanborn remembers the place to take them for a reunion dinner was a popular Italian …

    Garrison Sanborn enjoyed just one winning season in eight years in Buffalo. [AP photo]