Xavier Rhodes   CB/FS   FSU

TALENT BOARD ROUND  1

 

STRENGTHS

Xavier has the size, strength and tenacity that the NFL is looking for in the new cornerback for the NFL.  He has those long arms that make up for separation if he is beat in coverage.  He has solid catch-up speed because of his long strides to go along with long arms that will trick most quarterbacks into interceptions.  He is a shutdown man-to-man corner inside the red zone.  He will shut down and fight off those tall receivers in the end zone on those troublesome fade passes.  Xavier is naturally strong and does an excellent job sticking his arm out into the middle of the chest of his opponent at the line to disrupt the timing of a play.  He has the bulk to move players off their routes without getting penalties.  He does a good job flipping his hips when anticipating the route of a receiver at the line.  Xavier is a willing tackler and likes the physical part of the game.  He will go up to the line of scrimmage and into the box to stop the run or cover big pass catching tight ends down the slot one-on-one.  He has excellent hands to make the interception and will go up in the air and grab the ball out of the air for an interception. Xavier has the potential to be an impactful player for the team that drafts him, but still has a lot to learn and may have to change positions.    

 

CONCERNS

Right now Xavier struggles in zone coverages, is a bit sloppy when tackling and when he uses bump techniques at the line, he is at times out of balance.  Being out of balance on the snap will be a big problem for him on quick slants and crossing patterns over the middle.  He also guesses too much on routes and flips his hips too early, which will get him killed at the next level.  That being said, he is a solid overall cover defensive back in the red zone; in single coverage and nickel packages, he could impact right away. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

Xavier could be moved to the safety position if he tackled better.  In fact, I think his true impact position at the next level is as a cover safety.  As a CB, he will get beat a lot in the middle of the field.  Xavier does not shy away from making a tackle, but he needs to get a lot stronger to make the sure tackles that a safety has to make at the next level.  I see an all pro safety and a #2 corner in his future, but he has got to learn how to play in zone coverage or Xavier will be just average at the next level.  I think he can do it and the fact that he tackles well and has solid cover skills to go along with his size and solid speed bodes well for his success in the NFL.  He also plays a position that is valued very highly on most teams' value boards, which should also make Xavier a highly rated player on draft day.  This kid will get a lot of interceptions and that alone may push him to, or keep him in, the first round. 

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Jan/2013