Now that the initial news of Vernon Hargreaves III getting the first looks at outside corner along with inside at nickel has worn off, how should fans take this news?
For myself, the day I read the comments I honestly began with a bit of disappointment seeing how the team just invested two selections on college corners in the draft. The emotions then went from disappointed to somewhat frustrated that a team would move Hargreaves back outside where he had been playing so far off coverage that he was basically out of the play before it even began. Couple that with the fact that Hargreaves actually played very well inside and it almost makes you scratch your head as to why the team would bother at all with allowing another shot outside.
When Hargreaves was drafted there was no expectation of him being a top 15 pick that would play nickel only. The expectation should have been that the team has found a near shut down corner on the outside. That plan has essentially failed and to the teams credit, they found a spot for Hargreaves to succeed inside this past season. That said, there is something to be said for both Licht and the coaching staff if they can get Hargreaves to be a shut down nickel AND possibly function as a number two corner. Draft spot be damned, Hargreaves can still be a functional and positive piece to this defense. As Gil Arcia wrote and quoted here, Hargreaves knows he has to produce and the team drafting a couple corners reinforces the need for Hargreaves to step it up.
What if Hargreaves doesn’t step it up on the outside? Carlton Davis should hands down be the man for the job should Hargreaves falter and he hopefully can be the man to lock down opposing number one receivers in the future. Our own Evan Winter put some thought into Carlton Davis here, with the size Davis has there’s plenty room for optimism.
As the preseason approaches and the season nears, fans will have many more answers to how this mini-saga will play out. Will Vernon Hargreaves be able to man both roles playing inside and out? Will Carlton Davis get a fair shake at the spot and can he overtake Vernon on the outside? The competition should be good for both and it may be just what Hargreaves needs to find his stride outside. What say you? Will this idea backfire in the teams face or do you believe there is some validity to this method of moving Vernon Hargreaves back and forth?