When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Alterraun Verner last year, that looked like a very good deal. His contract was relatively cheap at just over $6 million per year while he was a perfect scheme fit for the Bucs' Tampa 2-based defense. Cming off a season with five interceptions and a whopping 23 passes defensed, the team expected Verner to turn into a ballhawk in Tampa too -- instead, he managed just nine passes defensed and two interceptions over an up-and-down season.
And now, Football Outsiders charted him as one of the worst supporting cornerbacks in the NFL -- apparently, Johnthan Banks saw more targets against number one receivers, and was seen as the team's top cornerback. And Banks didn't show up on either the list of worst or best leading cornerbacks.
Alterraun Verner was Tampa's prize of free agency in 2014, signed as the ideal young match for Lovie Smith's defensive scheme. Verner's contract (four years, $25.8 million, $14 million guaranteed) no longer looks like a bargain, as he ranked close to the bottom both in adjusted success rate (42 percent) and adjusted yards per pass (10.2).
Verner did struggle for the first half of the season, but for him to come in as one of the very worst "supporting" cornerbacks in the NFL is pretty shocking. Pro Football Focus actually really liked what he did this season, albeit mostly because of his work in run support.
Oddly enough, new Bucs signing Sterling Moore is also on that list, despite receiving high marks from Pro Football Focus and being the likely starting slot cornerback for the Bucs this season. But like he will in Tampa Bay, Sterling Moore played in a Tampa 2-style defense in Dallas -- perhaps that style of defense simply underrates cornerbacks' performance -- which is fairly likely actually, given that the team's approach on defense relies more on allowing short catches and making tackles than actually stopping passes from being completed.
Still, the Bucs will want a better performance out of Verner this year. And they should get one, too: as with most defenders, Verner's struggles came during the first half of the season and he played much better once he got used to the scheme and learned to trust his teammates.