Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. Chris Archer knocked out early as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Another short outing by Chris Archer led to another long afternoon for the Rays in a 9-4 loss to the Orioles on Sunday.

    Chris Archer has not gotten past four innings in four of his past five starts. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  2. Bucs-Vikings report card: Where's this explosive offense we heard about all offseason?

    Bucs

    O NO

    True, the Bucs defense looked pretty leaky in the 34-17 loss to the Vikings. But you know what needs to happen when the defense is getting torched? The offense needs to step up. In games such as these, with defensive players seemingly getting hurt every play, the offense needs to outscore the other …

    Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes (26) intercepts a Jameis Winston pass intended for wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs-Vikings: Instant analysis from Tampa Bay's 34-17 loss

    Bucs

    MINNEAPOLIS — Here's Rick Stroud and Tom Jones' instant analysis from the Bucs' 34-17 loss at Minnesota Sunday. More to come from Rick & Tom — and Greg Auman —- from Minneapolis later today.

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) dives over the pylon for a touchdown as  Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith (29) defends. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Worst-Case scenario: Case Keenum, Vikings hand Bucs 34-17 loss

    Bucs

    MINNEAPOLIS — With key defensive starters out with injury, the Bucs were dominated by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, with fill-in quarterback Case Keenum beating Tampa Bay for the third year in a row, …

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs-Vikings: A by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 34-17 loss

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) hits Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) as he passes during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times