Though Oakland shouldn’t reach in the draft to address pressing holes in their roster, if Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves falls to the Raiders at No. 14 he would likely be the best player available and address an obvious need in the secondary.
Hargreaves, a three-year starter with the Gators, is a high-effort, competitive cornerback that excels in both man and press coverage. As one of the top athletes in this class, Hargreaves is both quick and explosive when breaking on the ball and has the instincts to be a ball hawk when playing the deep third of the field in zone coverage.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Hargreaves did when people over with his performance in the on-the-field drills, but what could cause his draft stock to slip come April are his measurements.
At 5’10”, 204 pounds, Hargreaves is one inch shorter than the league average at cornerback, and though it may not seem like a significant issue, there are analysts that believe it force him to play inside as a slot corner at the nest level.
“Hargreaves will have some issues outside because of his lack of size but he could be an elite nickel cornerback at the next level,” via NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
Given his lack of ideal size, Hargreaves could have some growing pains during his first year against some of the bigger receivers in the NFL, but his love for the game should keep him grounded in his development. Even if he makes mistakes early in his career, Hargreaves is both willing and capable of continue to master his craft at the next level.
If Oakland does pull the trigger on Hargreaves, the Raiders could have the option to develop him behind Amerson and possibly another corner picked up via free agency, but don’t be surprised if Hargreaves plays himself into an outside cornerback role early in his career.
Check out a breakdown of his tape done by JustBlogBaby’s Nick Hjeltness here.