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2016 NFL Draft Player Breakdown: Vernon Hargreaves

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After acquiring Byron Maxwell in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dolphins are now searching for a young, shutdown cornerback to pair opposite of Maxwell. With the 13th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select; Vernon Hargreaves , cornerback, Florida University.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Who is Vernon Hargreaves?

Although there are several cornerbacks in this year’s draft that are very good, Vernon Hargreaves is the best of the best.  As a Florida native, Hargreaves was born and raised in Tampa, Florida.  Here, he attended Wharton high school where he played football under head coach, David Mitchell.  In 2010 as a sophomore, Hargreaves recorded 44 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. The following year, he scored 11 touchdowns on offense, in addition to 49 tackles and two interceptions.  During his senior year, VH3 amassed 110 tackles and four interceptions.  Hargreaves was named the Most Valuable Player in the Under Armor All-American game.  He was a five-star recruit according to Rivals.com and the number one cornerback in the nation.

Vernon Hargreaves would accept a scholarship to the University of Florida, remaining in the state throughout his college career.  As a freshman, Hargreaves started in 10 out of 12 games, combining for 38 tackles and three interceptions. In 2014, he started in 12 games, recording 50 tackles, 13 pass defended, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.  During his junior year, VH3 recorded 33 tackles, four interceptions, four passes defended and one forced fumble.  After his sub-par 2014 season, Vernon Hargreaves decided to forego his senior year and enter the 2016 NFL draft.

Awards

  • 2015 Consensus All-American Team
  • 2015 First team All-SEC Team
  • 2014 First team All-American Team
  • 2014 First team All-SEC Team
  • 2013 First team All-SEC Team

The Good

Vernon Hargreaves is the best cornerback in this year’s draft class. He possess the skills to excel in man coverage and the ability to recognize a play.  At times, it appears as though he's running the route for the receiver.  Hargreaves is also very good in zone coverage.  On this play, VH3 reads the quarterback's eyes and jumps the route.  Before the wide receiver even realizes the ball was thrown, Hargreaves is headed the other way.

Hargreaves has a way of being in the right place at the right time.  In this clip, he has perfect coverage on his receiver.  Once the ball is tipped, he sees his opportunity to break away from his designated receiver.  His ability to read the quarterback's eyes allowed him to break on the tipped pass, resulting in an interception.

When the ball is in the air, there aren't many cornerbacks better than Hargreaves.  He high points the football, making the catch as though he's the intended receiver.  Once the football is in his hands, he uses his vision and quickness to extend the play

Florida utilized his athleticism on both sides of the football, allowing Hargreaves to return punts and play sparingly on offense.

One on one, there's not many wide receivers that can compete with Hargreaves.  Here, he uses his fluid hips to shadow the receiver, running the route simultaneously with the opposing wide out.  VH3 breaks the pass up, resulting in an incomplete pass.

Vernon Hargreaves is a physical corner.  He plays physical against the pass and equally as physical against the run.  His natural instincts allow him to dissect the play, using his quickness to break on the ball carrier.

The Bad

My biggest concern with VH3 isn’t with technique or flaws in his skill-set, my biggest concern is his size.  At 5’10", 204-pounds, Hargreaves’ small frame makes it difficult to compete with the bigger, more physical wide receivers in today’s NFL.

Hargreaves had a difficult time matching up vs Amari Cooper, who created separation nearly every time the two lined up across from one another.  His lack of recovery speed is apparent in this video, as he watches Cooper blow past him.

Even though Hargreaves is in perfect position to make the play, his size allows Amari Cooper to come down with the touchdown.

In addition, I’d like to see Hargreaves become more physical at the line of scrimmage.  During my film study, VH3 would consistently allow opposing wide receivers to get off the line cleanly, despite possessing the physical prowess to make an impact at the line.

Hargreaves is a great tackler in the open field, although there are times when he can be a little too aggressive, resulting in a missed tackle.

The Skinny

Vernon Hargreaves is as NFL ready as any cornerback in this year’s draft.  He possess the skill-set to redirect a wide receiver at the line and the quickness to run stride for stride down field.  VH3 has the ability to read the quarterback’s eyes, reacting to the play before the wide receiver ever finishes his route.  Even though his size remains an issue, Hargreaves would be a day one starter for the Dolphins, opposite of Byron Maxwell.  Miami desperately needs a young cornerback with the ability to cover the NFL’s best and VH3 is that guy.  Even though it seems unlikely Hargreaves will be available when the Dolphins select at 13, he is everything the team desires at cornerback.  Whether he lands with the Dolphins or elsewhere, Hargreaves will make an immediate impact in 2016.

All clips were taken from draftbreakdown.com

This article was written by Josh Houtz.  Follow him on Twitter!