(Photo Credit: Buccaneers.com)
Vernon Hargreaves could be the biggest beneficiary of the Buccaneers signing DeSean Jackson.
Getting the knowledge the 30-year old Jackson has to share could elevate the Buccaneers’ 2016 first-round pick to elite status.
Jackson practiced against Josh Norman last season, and if he can pass on some of the tactics used against him in those practices, it could greatly benefit Hargreaves.
This season, the second-year defender will have to face off against Julio Jones (twice), Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin (twice), Julian Edelman, and AJ Green.
If you were to make a short list of the best wide receivers in the NFL these are all names that would pop up in the conversation.
Hargreaves had a forgettable rookie season last year. He had nine passes defended and only a single interception.
Now, the interception did come against Drew Brees. And, it was a great awareness play, but not a pass defended play.
Hargreaves was targeted 113-times, more than any other rookie in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers defensive unit was one of the worst in the league at giving up the big play ranking 28th.
2017 Training Camp
Fast forward to Buccaneers training camp 2017, and enter DeSean Jackson, one of the leagues premier deep threats.
Having to play against Jackson everyday in practice, Hargreaves recently said in an interview with Jenna Laine,
“There’s not a lot of guys with that experience that he has, so if I can cover him I think I’ll be all right. I’ll figure it out.”
Having to defend Jackson every day and learn how to stop the deep ball is just another way he is contributing to the Buccaneers.
Teammates Making Each Other Better
Having to go head-to-head with Jackson on the Buccaneers has seemingly instilled more confidence in Hargreaves.
The word around training camp is Hargreaves has become more authoritative as he is understanding Mike Smith’s defense.
The learning curve for cornerbacks in the NFL is steep and with some help it looks like this former Gator might be ready for a breakout campaign.
Sean Eck, FIU Panther. Contributor to Pro Football Spot. Follow me for more articles like this on Twitter @Sean_Eck #gobucs