2013 NFL Draft Prospects: CB Xavier Rhodes Scouting Report

USA TODAY Sports

Could the Broncos draft a new X-Man?

A potential first round pick for the Denver Broncos is cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes who is a 6'1 217lb CB is one of this drafts best cornerback prospects. In fact Rhodes is listed as the 3rd best cornerback prospect, and 23rd overall prospect in this years draft by CBSSports.com. Rhodes expects to be a first round selection and is projected to go anywhere from the top 15 to late first round.

Bio:

Rhodes played 3 seasons at Florida State and put together a pretty good career. In 3 seasons he totaled 140 total tackles, 7 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 8 Ints, 31 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. His best season came his Freshmen year when he totaled 58 total tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 2 sacks 16 passes defended and 4 Ints. His 2012 season went pretty well too. He totaled 39 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 3 Ints and 10 passes defended. His numbers never really came close to his Freshmen year, but here's what Florida States head coach Jimbo Fisher had to say about Rhodes.

"After one good year when you get numbers, you usually don't get them after that, because they quit throwing at you," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It comes back to the respect and appreciation of how he plays the game and how good of a player he is. To me, when a corner doesn't have big numbers, it's because of the respect other teams have for you."

Via: CBSSports.com

CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, 6'1", 217 lbs.

Class: RS Junior

born June 19, 1990.

2012: Big, physical corner who is considered one of the best cover corners in the country heading into his fourth season in the program. Possesses speed and the ability to change direction on a dime as well as outstanding hands and ball skills.

2011: Second-year starter at cornerback who was part of a three-man starting rotation with Mike Harris and Greg Reid...registered 43 stops (36 solo) on the season with 1.5 tackles for loss, one INT and four pass-breakups...

2010: Redshirt freshman who started all 14 games at the boundary cornerback position and emerged as a promising young star for FSU's vastly improved defense...a consensus Freshman All-American, Rhodes was voted the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Tall and rangy, he used those physical attributes to record 12 pass breakups and four interceptions, good for a share of the team lead...his pass breakups and 16 passes defended led all freshmen nationally...a sure tackler, the Miami native ranked seventh on the team with 58 stops and his 49 solo tackles ranked fourth...Rhodes' ability to play close to the line of scrimmage in coverage enabled him to collect 3.5 tackles for loss on the season and two sacks..

2009: Appeared in two games - Boston College and Georgia Tech - on special teams before suffering a hand injury that sidelined him for the balance of the season.

Via: Seminoles.com

Draft Profile:

Overview:

A high school wide receiver, running back and defensive back at Miami Norland, Rhodes chose Florida State over offers from West Virginia, Auburn and FIU and switched to the defensive side of the ball shortly after arriving in Tallahassee.

Although he had a rough start at cornerback, Rhodes earned his way onto the field as a freshman, but a hand injury ended his season prematurely and led to a medical redshirt. The injury ended up to be a blessing in disguise because it allowed Rhodes to watch film and learn the subtle nuances of the cornerback position while he redshirted.

He returned healthy in 2010 and started all 14 games, emerging as one of the young studs of the Seminoles' defense with 12 pass break-ups and four interceptions. Rhodes failed to match his production as a sophomore (four pass break-ups, one interception), but teams tended to stay away from his side of the field.

Rhodes flirted with the NFL waters after the 2011 season, but decided to return to Tallahassee, especially after he suffered a knee injury in a bowl win over Notre Dame.

He tied for the team-lead in interceptions (three) in 2012, giving him eight over the past three seasons, and earned first-team All-ACC honors. He put up solid numbers despite teams largely staying away from Rhodes' side of the field.

"After one good year when you get numbers, you usually don't get them after that, because they quit throwing at you," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It comes back to the respect and appreciation of how he plays the game and how good of a player he is. To me, when a corner doesn't have big numbers, it's because of the respect other teams have for you."

Rhodes is one of the more talented cornerbacks at the college level and has first round ability if he stays healthy and becomes more disciplined.

"I'm excited about it," Rhodes said after the team's Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois, "but it depends on me and how I perform in the combine if I'm going to be a first-rounder."

Possessing a rare combination of size (6-2, 217), physicality and athleticism, Rhodes proved to be a standout throughout his career with the Seminoles, culminating in his earning First Team All-ACC honors in 2012. He'll need to run well in pre-draft workouts to guarantee being selected in the first round and projects best to a press-heavy scheme.

Analysis:

STRENGTHS:

Rhodes is strong for the position with a solidly-built frame and excellent arm length. He loves to jam and get physical in press coverage, getting in the face of receivers at the line of scrimmage and staying aggressive through the whistle.

Rhodes has very good click-and-close ability with strong plant-and-go burst to drive on plays in front of him, undercutting routes and knocking down passes. He does a nice job getting his head around to locate and high point with very good leaping ability and timing. Rhodes can flip his hips and easily change directions with a near-effortless transition, showing the ability to adjust and contort his body.

He is confident and instinctive in coverage, coming off his man to make a play on the ball with very good ballskills. Rhodes does a nice job defeating blocks to be a factor against the run and is a punishing striker, making the decleating hit if it's there.

He has very good experience with 39 career starts, finishing his collegiate career with eight interceptions and 31 passes defended.

WEAKNESSES:

Rhodes tends to get too physical in tight coverage, playing too hands-on and grabby, which will attract pass interference penalties. He plays very aggressive with the ball in the air, but makes too much contact and needs to pay more attention to body position.

Rhodes needs to show better discipline and is susceptible to play fakes and misdirection. He lacks elite long-speed and isn't a quick-twitch type of athlete. Rhodes needs to stay assignment-sound holding contain against the run. He needs to eliminate the penalties and stay focused, controlling his intensity.

COMPARES TO:

Aqib Talib, CB, New England Patriots - While Rhodes isn't quite as fast as Talib, he doesn't have the same character concerns either, But both do have tall, long frames with a knack for making plays on the ball when it's in the air.

-- Dane Brugler

Via: CBSSports.com

OVERVIEW:

Xavier Rhodes (pronounced "ZAY-vee-er"), a redshirt junior, started all three years he spent on the field while at Florida State, including a three man rotation in 2011 that featured Mike Harris and Greg Reid. The Seminole is best known for his big, physical, imposing frame on the edge and willingness to press receivers in man coverage, a trait that is difficult to find at the college level. Rhodes was lucky to line up behind behind pass rushers like Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine during his career, but they were equally as thankful to play with a defensive back that refused to get his opposition a sliver of separation. The imposing corner does have some injuries on record, including one to his hand after only three games in 2009 and a gruesome knee injury at the end of the 2011 that turned out to be a bad sprain.

As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Rhodes started all 14 games at the boundary corner position and registered 58 total tackles, 3.5 of which went for a loss, including two sacks. He added 12 pass breakups, including four interceptions. Rhodes was forced to play in a three man rotation in 2011, and his numbers show it. He still went on to be credited with 43 total tackles, 1.5 went for a loss. Along with the tackle numbers, Rhodes added four pass breakups including an interception. Finally, in 2012, Rhodes regained his full-time place on the boundary side of the formation, tallying 39 total tackles, two of which went for a loss. To go along with one forced fumble, Rhodes intercepted three passes on seven pass breakups.

ANALYSIS:

STRENGTHS:

Big frame and size for the position. Press corner that likes to have a hand on his opponent at all times. Consistently does get some kind of contact or jam when pressing, remains balanced without overextending. Contact is the arm mirroring the release side. Stays with quick twitch cuts and release with equally fast movements. Flashes strength to throw receiver to the side when wanting to get in on piles. Improved against the run as the season went along. Can really lay into a hit if it is lined up on the edge. Turns to find the football and adjusts well if in the hip pocket of a receiver downfield.

WEAKNESSES:

Coming off of a knee injury in 2011. Very inconsistent on runs to the empty side, loses contain, does not react quickly enough. Misses tackles when lunging at ball carriers and when leaving his feet. Hands are by his waist at the snap instead of higher to punch more quickly. Can be disinterested when play goes to different receiver he is not responsible for in man coverage, closing speed lacks urgency. Does not have experience inside as a slot corner in nickel. Performance takes a step back in zone coverage, struggles to pass off and close on receivers entering or leaving his area. Looks sluggish or tight hipped when not asked to mirror movements. Not a blitzer when path is impeded.

NFL COMPARISON: Brandon Browner

BOTTOM LINE:

Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something very few college players can put on their resume. At time his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don't ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme dependent, but expect Rhodes to be selected in the first 50 picks.

Via: NFL.com

Skill-Set Summary:

Rhodes is a big cornerback who is very physical with receivers. He does a good job in press-man coverage. Off the snap, Rhodes limits the release with a strong jam and rerouting skills. He has the speed and athletic ability to run with receivers after the jam. Rhodes does a good job of not allowing separation and keeping his man covered. Rhodes showed the ability to match up with an elite receiver in his battle against Floyd. The Irish wideout couldn't beat Rhodes with speed or size.

Rhodes is a good run defender who is capable of putting on some nice hits on ball-carriers. Rhodes would probably be best playing press-man coverage or zone coverage in the NFL. Lining up off the ball and picking up a receiver in man coverage may not be a good fit for Rhodes' skill set. In that regard, a player who is similar to Rhodes is Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick.

2013 Draft Expectations:

Rhodes is viewed as a first-round pick entering the 2012 season. He needs to stay healthy and in the lineup. As long as Rhodes avoids injuries, he stands a good chance of being one of the top cornerbacks available in the 2012 class.

Rhodes has a unique skill set that is tough to find. South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore had an average season and still ended up going highly in the 2012 draft based on his skill set alone. It would be surprising if Rhodes wasn't a first-round pick if he declares for the 2013 NFL Draft as expected.

Via: WalterFootball.com

Pros:

Rhodes' size is obviously a huge plus. His long frame gives him added range when matching up against big deep threat receivers. Rhodes is also physical at the line of scrimmage, showing the technique and fluid hips to engage his receiver in press coverage and turn and run down the field while maintaining tight coverage.

Rhodes is a phenomenal athlete. Considering his size, he moves very well for the position. His ball skills are immediately evident when watching him. He high points the football with ease and has the leaping skills to go up and get jump balls. Rhodes also shows awareness, locating the football effectively and turning his head to make plays.

Rhodes is very smooth in his backpedal and has the closing speed to break on the ball and disrupt passing plays in all areas of the field.

Cons:

Rhodes struggles in run defense. As physical as he is in press coverage, Rhodes doesn't show the same edge when he's coming up in run support. He takes spotty angles and can be inconsistent in terms of wrapping up and bringing down ball carriers.

Rhodes also doesn't possess elite short area quickness. He is a smooth athlete with fluid hips, but when matching up in the slot against some quicker receivers, he can give up a bit of separation. That's when Rhodes will surrender completions.

Conclusion:

Xavier Rhodes should come off the board in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He's going to be best suited lining up in press-man coverage. He's got all of the physical tools to be a very effective cornerback in the NFL. If he can continue to stay healthy and improve his play recognition, Rhodes could end up being the best cornerback in this class. He has true shutdown potential.

Pro comparison: Lardarius Webb, Baltimore Ravens

In terms of physicality and an ability to dominate receivers in press coverage, Rhodes and Webb are similar. Rhodes is actually even bigger than Webb and brings even more physicality to the game at times. Webb is probably a bit more impressive in terms of his short area quickness, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Rhodes develop into a similar player.

Via: MockingTheDraft.com

Videos:

Xavier Rhodes vs USF & Miami (2012)

Xavier Rhodes vs WF and Clemson 2012

Xavier Rhodes vs Notre Dame 2011

My Take:

I really like Rhodes. I'm a fan of big physical corners and Rhodes is that type of guy. With the emergence of Chris Harris and Tony Carter, he wouldnt be pushed into a heavy role right away. I like that he's a tough press corner too. The best way to mess with a receiver is to be physical with them at the line. He has the size to cover the bigger receivers in the league too. He has good ball skills and seems pretty athletic with a good build. I believe he would be a good successor to Champ Bailey.


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