Vernon Hargreaves is the nation's No. 1 CB
By almost all accounts, Florida Gators’ cornerback Vernon Hargreaves is an elite player. Ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the nation coming out of high school, he was able to contribute to the Gators’ defense immediately. As a true freshman in 2013 he started 10 of 12 games and was named First Team All-SEC. In his sophomore season last year, he not only earned All-SEC honors again but was named a second-team AP All-American. Many draft experts consider him to be a sure-fire top 10 pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
However, it appears that not everyone is sold on Hargreaves. TFY Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline recently ranked him the SEC’s 25th best prospect, writing the following: “To a man most scouts feel the cornerback duo of Brian Poole and Vernon Hargreaves are significantly overrated. … Hargreaves is not mentioned on a number of underclassmen lists teams have assembled.”
If this is the case, some of these teams may want to update their lists. Our numbers have Hargreaves ranked as our No. 1 corner entering the season, with a PFF rating of 96.7 (no other corner is above 90). Last season QBs targeting Hargreaves came away with a mere 29 completions and a 41.6 QB rating. In 12 games, only once did he receive a negative grade (and just barely), when he surrendered five receptions on six targets for 40 yards and one touchdown to Heisman finalist and future No. 4 overall pick Amari Cooper.
Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander recently named himself the best cornerback in the country, but our numbers say that Hargreaves is clearly the player most deserving of that title. It wouldn’t be surprising us if NFL teams soon reach the same conclusion, as well.