Prospect: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Grade: 7.35 (Grading Scale)
Rhodes is a big cornerback, with an extremely think lower body and long arms. He has more bulk than normal for an elite CB and exhibits good strength on the field. Has enough top end speed and shows good overall athleticism. Can stop his feet and start them up quickly. Change of direction and fluidity throughout his mid-section can be an issue. While Rhodes can recover, open hips and mirror he doesn’t showcase the quick twitch movements to play vs. smaller WR. Running and moving in a straight line isn’t an issue. Long arms and good vertical leap make it tough to get balls by him.
Plays a bit high in his stance, needs to drop his hips.
Rhodes is a much better press man corner than zone player. Plays at the line of scrimmage and does a good job of shooting his hands into the chest of the receiver. Future boundary corner in a press man scheme. Patient in his jams, allows the receiver to come to him and uses long arms and powerful lower body to limit free release. Is able to reroute and then turn flip hips and run vertically. Shows some ability to mirror and shadow WR. Plays a physical brand of CB, can man up bigger receivers and cover tight ends. Gets good extension on his jam, doesn’t lung. Covers well vertically and stays within range to make play, but allows space and separation over the middle of the field. Uses his long arms to his advantage both at the line and to knock down passes. Is able to keep track of the WR while tracking the ball. Limited to a press coverage or cover two scheme.
Is too physical downfield, likes to grab and use his hands which will lead to illegal contact fouls in NFL.
Not a natural zone corner, but has range and closing ability. Breaks quickly on routes in front of him, but doesn’t anticipate the route combinations/throws quick enough. Uses his length to tighten the throwing window. Rhodes has enough speed to cover the deep zone and might be best suited to a Safety position in the NFL.
Will leave his zone and follow receiver over the middle of the field. Can get turned around in zone and struggles to quickly recover due to tightness in the hips. Doesn’t come off his receiver quick enough.
Vs. The Run
Despite his size Rhodes isn’t great vs. the run. Has the physical frame to play at the line of scrimmage and set the outside edge. Lacks technique as a tackler, will put his head down and try to throw his shoulder into defender, but can deliver the big hit. When playing off coverage Rhodes takes good angles and keeps outside leverage vs. the run. Recognizes run/pass well and when in press coverage can get off the block to pursue.
In the open field he doesn’t get off the block as well. Will go around blocks instead of trying to fight through them.
Rhodes has the ability to play cornerback or safety, but is scheme limited. Has battled many injuries over his career including a thumb and knee ailment. Good technique as a press corner and shows the ability to find the ball in coverage. Doesn’t have any off the field issues to be concerned about.
Durability has been questioned at times. Hasn’t made a lot of big plays.
Rhodes is probably the best press cornerback in this draft. He blends size, length and power to match up at the line of scrimmage vs. receivers. He shows the ability to re-route and mirror off of his jam. Shows good man coverage prowess and can match up vs. big physical players. Due to his very thick lower body and stiffness in the hips he could be moved to safety at the NFL level. Rhodes is best suited to play in a press scheme and is much better in man coverage.
Cornerbacks who are as big as Rhodes that can stick at the position are rare. It’s for that fact that he is likely to be a high draft pick in April’s draft.