The Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp is right around the corner.
Training camp is always fun, but the the last few years, I have enjoyed the training camp battles even more. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster has had enough talent for players to compete. In previous years, some players were handed a starting job, simply because there was no one else to take it from them.
Was it even a battle?
My favorite training camp battle from last year was Chris Baker versus the palm tree (just kidding). In all seriousness, one of the more fierce battles took place between kickers. Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk both had a lot to compete for, but unfortunately neither of them worked out and both ended up being cut from the team before the season ended.
Last year was unique because Hard Knocks gave fans a more in depth view of training camp, that we otherwise, wouldn’t have experienced. One of the training camp sleepers I was most interested in last year was Maurice Flemming.
In my opinion, if he could have stayed healthy, he might have had a good chance of making the team. Either on the 53 man roster or practice squad.
Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut him due to injury. Similar to last year, there are a few training camp battles to keep our eyes on this year.
For me, the next training camp battle that will have my interest is……….
Carlton Davis versus Vernon Hargreaves
Corner Back Carlton Davis of Auburn University was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He has a unique attribute that sets him apart from other corner backs on the Bucs roster, namely: Height. Initial reaction to when the Bucs drafted Davis was mostly negative.
Most fans were not thrilled at the pick mainly because there were other players that could have been selected instead, especially because Jason Licht had just drafted M.J. Stewart a few picks before. As the days went on, it seemed to me more fans were coming around. For me, all it took to be a believer in Davis was his conference call with the media.
His confidence was evident. One of the keys to the cornerback position is having confidence. Lacking confidence makes you a target in the NFC south, remember Hargreaves last year. The NFC South is by far one of, if not the toughest, divisions in the NFL today and you don’t want quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Matt Ryan targeting you.
It is no secret that Hargreaves had an underwhelming year. The blame doesn’t fall solely on one guy. Its a team sport and when a corner back isn’t getting help from the defensive line, it’s almost impossible to hold up in coverage that long.
With that being said, I will not blame everything on the defensive line either. Hargreaves has a lot to work on if we wants to stick around as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. He has to play with more confidence.
There were a few games where Hargreaves played very well both outside and inside. The arrow seemed to be pointing upward before his injury, which sidelined him for the remainder of the year.
This year is a big year for Hargreaves playing into his third season with the Buccaneers. With the two picks made at corner back, nothing is guaranteed for Hargreaves. It’s my opinion that Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter will give Hargreaves every chance to prove he can play outside. If not, like Koetter said earlier this off season, “At the very least we will have a very good nickel corner”.
The balls in your court now, Hargreaves. Are you up to the task?
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Christian Worthen has been a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 22 years. He currently is a contributor/writer for Full Press Coverage Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To see more of his work or the work by Full Press Coverage follow @FPC_Buccanners on Twitter.