Vernon Hargreaves considering applying for early NFL draft entry


HOOVER, Ala. -- While plenty of college football's top underclassmen shy from the question of whether they might apply for early NFL draft eligibility, Vernon Hargreaves III is one who does not. And just getting to the NFL isn't the only goal for the Florida cornerback, who declared himself the best cornerback in the college game Monday at SEC Media Days.

Staying in the NFL is of more importance to Hargreaves, a junior, than how soon he can get there.

"All the time ... all the time," Hargreaves said when asked if he's considered early NFL draft entry. However, NFL success for Hargreaves will be better defined by longevity than anything else.

"To play in the league for 10-plus years, that's probably my main goal," Hargreaves said. "And then hopefully try to get to a Super Bowl."

Hargreaves led the SEC with 13 pass breakups last season and made three interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks often looked to throw to anyone but Hargreaves' man last year, and he enters this season as a top candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, an honor given annually to the nation's top defensive back. With a resume like that, one might assume Hargreaves patterns his game after Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman, or the Jets' Darrelle Revis.

Hargreaves instead favors three-time Pro Bowler Brent Grimes of the Miami Dolphins.

"I think I'm completely different than most corners, but my favorite corner is Brent Grimes, just because of how he plays," Hargreaves said. "His tenacity, and he can do anything. He can press, he can play off, he's fast, and he makes plays and gets the ball out."

While Grimes is one of top corners to watch on Sundays, NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein selected Hargreaves earlier this month as the top collegiate defensive back to watch in 2015.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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