The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more or less overhauled their cornerbacks this offseason. Gone is Sterling Moore, the best cornerback on last year's roster. In come Brent Grimes, Josh Robinson and rookie Vernon Hargreaves. Add in the apparent elevation of Alterraun Verner to starting cornerback, and two new coaches for the secondary, and the Bucs went to a lot of trouble to get this unit up to snuff, a year after it allowed quarterbacks to complete 70% of their passes.
According to Pro Football Focus, it wasn't quite enough. They rank the team's cornerbacks as the 22nd best group in the NFL. Owtch.
From 2007 to 2013, Brent Grimes surrendered only 14 touchdown passes; in the last two seasons alone, he has nearly matched that. Grimes surrendered a passer rating of 103.8 last season, his first time over 100.0 since 2008. He highlights a trio of corners looking to re-discover better form from past seasons, playing alongside Vernon Hargreaves (whose form dipped from 2014 with Florida) and Alterraun Verner, who is yet to rediscover the production levels of his Titans days. If all three produce their best form, the Bucs could appear much higher on this list, but can all three rebound?
Given what the Bucs invested in the position this offseason, that has to be a disappointing ranking. It's not entirely surprising, though: there are a lot of question marks among these players. How close is Brent Grimes to the end of his career? Can Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks rebound? Can Vernon Hargreaves adjust to the NFL, and how quickly? Will Jude Adjei-Barimah continue to develop? What's Josh Robinson even doing on this roster?
If the Bucs can get positive answers to about half of those questions, they should have a pretty strong group of cornerbacks. If they can't, this unit could be really, really bad.