As the offseason and draft process unfold, we only get less clarity about where the New York Giants could be looking at 10th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Just about every defensive option seems like it could be at least tolerable, and there are even a couple offensive options cropping up.
The Giants will go into the draft with a pair of good starting corners -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins -- but could they still look at the top corner in the draft, Vernon Hargreaves III of Florida?
- Highly competitive. Hargreaves believes he can, and should, win every play, and plays with swagger.
- Natural in coverage. Fluid hips, quick feet, and body control let him excel in press-man, off-man, or zone coverage.
- Great ball skills. Hargreaves has some of the better ball skills in this draft with 38 passes defensed and 10 interceptions over the last three years.
- Explosive lower body. With a 39-inch vertical and 10'10" broad jump, Hargreaves can beat taller receivers and attack the ball at its highest point.
- Willing run defender. Doesn't make "business decisions," doesn't hesitate to come down to defend the run or screen passes.
- Very undersized. Good thickness, but height and arm length limit him against bigger receivers in close quarters.
- Lacks long speed. Hargreaves doesn't have the speed to keep up with fast receivers or recover if he is beaten.
- Aggressive play leaves him vulnerable to double moves. Recovery speed then becomes an issue.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 7th
Mocking The Draft - 6th
CBS - 11th
Draft Tek - 8th
Does He Fit With the Giants?
Hargreaves' fit with the Giants depends on a couple things.
First is whether or not they feel the cornerback position has been adequately addressed. They signed Jenkins to a big contract, but they don't have much depth behind their starters. Also, given how often defenses are in sub-packages nowadays, the nickel corner (or safety) are essentially starters even if they don't take the first snap. Hargreaves looks like he could have upside as a slot corner and the first man off the bench if one of the boundary corners has to come off the field -- say, to retie their cleats.
If the Giants want to take him at 10th overall, they should be able to find a home for Hargreaves.
Hargreaves is a good player with the kind of attitude a great corner needs. He is confident, aggressive, and plays with a reckless abandon. Unfortunately for him, he is short and not fast, the two traits the NFL loves in its corners. He still stands a good chance of being a top-10 (and almost certainly a top-15) pick.
However, is corner even his best position?
He is probably the top cover corner in the draft, but could he be better served by moving to free safety at the next level? Asking a potential top-10 pick to change position is a rare occurrence, but the traits that make Hargreaves attractive as a corner -- confidence, aggression, ball skills, and a willing tackler -- also lend themselves to good safety play. Physically, Hargreaves looks pretty similar to Seattle's Earl Thomas, who has become the prototype free safety.
If Hargreaves can't compete at the line of scrimmage with bigger receivers, perhaps he can use his quickness, explosiveness, intelligence, and ball skills to roam the middle of the field, come down and defend slot receivers, defend the run, or blitz the quarterback.