These days in the NFL, it’s rare for a defensive player to be the main attraction at a football game and the reason behind ticket sales. Sure, you have your J.J. Watts, your Richard Shermans and your Justin Houstons; Vernon Hargreaves is next on that list, plus, he brings an extra dimension to the game.

Name: Vernon Hargreaves III
College: Florida
Size: 5’11”/199
Class: Junior
Projection: Top 10
Comparison: Patrick Peterson

Strengths

  • Elite speed/athleticism
  • Playmaker
  • Shutdown corner potential
  • Ball Skills
  • Footwork
  • Reading QB

Weaknesses

  • Tackling technique
  • Allows too much cushion
  • Locks on the QB at times
  • Inconsistency
  • Strength

You read most scouting reports on Hargreaves, and the respective scout will be quick to consider him a lock to be a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player in the NFL. While I’m not denying his talent and potential, I think there’s somewhat of a risk involved with Hargreaves. Countless amounts of times the “safe pick” turns out to be a bust. Now I’m not saying that’s the case with Hargreaves, but I see some red flags in his game that could resemble that type of player – just be wary.

With that being said, Hargreaves is electric on the football field. He is as flashy as they come. Not only does he present tremendous athleticism and elite speed, but he translates that into special teams as a lethal return threat. He has the potential to be a lockdown corner in the NFL which he has already flashed at the college level. However, I’d like to see more consistency. His speed makes him great in man-to-man, he’ll hardly ever get beat deep. He can be physical and play great press coverage – he uses his hands effectively. However, at times he tends to leave too much of a cushion which gives the opposing receiver an easy catch. On the flipside, he surely isn’t a liability to get burned. In man coverage, I’d also like to see better instincts.

When I say Hargreaves is a flashy playmaker, I mean it. He has tremendous ball skills and is extremely disruptive when the pass is targeted towards him – he’s a menace to defend the pass or even pick it off. He does a great job at reading the QB, although he tends to lock on a few seconds too long causing him to get beat – he needs more discipline in that aspect. Hargreaves is incredibly athletic and has the tremendous footwork and hip fluidity to go along with that.

My concerns with Hargreaves are more mental and intangible than anything. Clearly, he has all the physical tools and skills to be successful in the NFL. His inconsistencies that I’ve cited make me worrisome regarding his ability to adjust to the NFL game. That’s a major concern along with the other minor weaknesses. Hargreaves brings tremendous upside to the table which makes him a top 10 pick, perhaps even top 5. While many will disagree with me, I think he’s more of a risk than a safe pick. He’s going to be a top 5, Pro Bowl corner in the NFL for years to come, or crash and burn – there’s no in-between with him.

About The Author Jonathan Valencia

Jonathan has been investing his time in sports writing for the past decade. Breaking Football's lead writer covers anything from the NFL Draft to providing fantasy football insight. Born and raised in the Jersey Shore. Follow him on Twitter @JonValencia_WiB to talk anything football.