Pictures of the Buccaneers' cornerbacks.
Two weeks before the start of free agency, the Buccaneers let veteran corner Alterraun Verner go, but the team subsequently re-signed corner Josh Robinson after he had hit the open market. Robinson was a very valuable player for the Buccaneers in 2016 but almost exclusively on special teams; still, he has experience as a starter in the NFL and provides good depth at the position.
The Buccaneers also will be retaining cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah thanks to the qualifying offer they extended to make him an exclusive rights free agent. Barimah spent a good portion of the 2016 season as the team's primary nickel back. There have been no outside additions to the cornerback spot since the start of free agency, but the position does not lack in depth the way linebacker does.
For one thing, the Bucs are moving second-year player Ryan Smith back to cornerback after an initial attempt to convert him to safety. The coaching staff is very high on Smith, a fourth-round pick in 2016, after watching him perform very well at cornerback on the practice field last fall. The Bucs also re-signed young corner Cody Riggs in January after he had spent about a month on the practice squad; Riggs actually has a decent amount of regular-season experience, having played in 14 games for the Titans over the past two seasons.
The top of the depth chart was strong in 2016, with first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves combining with free agent acquisition Brent Grimes to form a brand new starting duo. Grimes proved to be an outstanding pick-up, leading the NFL with 24 passes defensed and the Buccaneers with four interceptions (tied with Keith Tandy). Hargreaves was everything the team could have hoped for in a high draft pick, handling a full dose of playing time well and steadily improving during his rookie season.
The nickel position is practically another starting spot, and it got handed around a bit last year. At the beginning of the season, the Buccaneers slid Hargreaves into the slot on nickel downs and brought in Verner to play on the outside. After three weeks, Hargreaves was allowed to focus solely on the outside and Adjei-Barimah took over in the slot. After a suspension to Adjei-Barimah, the team initially went back to the dual role for Hargreaves before giving Javien Elliott, an undrafted rookie and former walk-on at Florida State, a shot. Elliott performed well, which means the Buccaneers have at least two prime competitors for the nickel job heading into camp this year. It would not be surprising, however, to see the team add to the position and to the starting competition, perhaps even with a high draft pick.
MORE DEPTH CHART BREAKDOWNS