TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have selected Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III with the 11th pick in the NFL draft.
The selection Thursday night addresses one of the biggest needs for a team that went 6-10 last season and hasn't made the playoffs since 2007. It also sets the tone for what figures to be an effort to bolster the defense over the final two days of the draft.
General manager Jason Licht and former coach Lovie Smith used 12 of 13 draft picks over the past two years to retool the offense, following a carefully constructed plan to get better on that side of the ball before seeking reinforcements on defense.
Smith was fired after a four-game season-ending slide left the Bucs with an 8-24 record under him, however the plan remains intact.
The Bucs initially had the ninth overall pick, but traded down two spots in a deal that moved Chicago up to No. 9. Tampa Bay also received a fourth-round selection, No. 106 overall.