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Hargreaves’ Absence Opening Doors For Rookies

With Vernon Hargreaves not being involved in OTAs, the rookie class is getting an opportunity to shine

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Vernon Hargreaves missed the initial day of OTA’s and mum has been the word since as to whether or not he’s been involved. Head coach Bruce Arians told the media following that first day, “You’d have to talk to Vernon. I mean, he’s got to get his mind right for practice. You’d have to talk to him.”

Not exactly the glowing endorsement we heard a short time back from the new coach when talking about the often injured corner.

Hargreaves, for whatever reason, has opted to not participate in these voluntary sessions of OTAs and in turn, the day two defensive backs frenzy Jason Licht went on in the NFL Draft have seen their opportunity to shine - and possibly usurp Hargreaves in the starting lineup.

Nothing is given in the NFL. You must earn your spot and fight to keep it. This is especially true under BA. As I said on Twitter when the VHIII news originally broke - BA doesn’t play games.

Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Mike Edwards have all been working on the first field according to Carmen Vitali and they have been rather impressive when on the field.

“Rookie safety Mike Edwards was coming in on a blitz, never took his eyes off the quarterback and as soon as he went to throw, Edwards got UP and smacked the ball down. If this were the NBA, it would have been on a poster. The ball stood absolutely no chance and it was incredible to watch.

The rookie DBs, who stood out during rookie mini-camp, still managed to shine against tougher and veteran talent in the first day of OTAs. Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Mike Edwards were all with the ‘first-team’ in practice, shuffling in and out depending on the defensive calls. They ran step-for-step against Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Breshad Perriman.”

Since media wasn’t allowed to attend days two and three of OTAs, Vitali has been one of the few sources of information about those workouts. You can find her recaps here, here, and here.

If Hargreaves can’t “get his mind right” he is going to find it difficult to get on the field. His fifth year option was picked up but is only guaranteed against injury. If Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles feel it’s best for the team to award a starting job to one of these rookies who earned it in the offseason, so be it. Hargreaves is promised nothing, guaranteed nothing, and has earned nothing.

The longer he sits out, the further behind he falls.

Check out the latest episode of Locked On Bucs below, featuring Buccaneers’ Staff Writer Carmen Vitali for more OTA discussion, some insight into the JPP situation, and some Game of Thrones grievances