Xavier Rhodes was one of the nation's premier corners for the past three years running. It's time for him to write the next chapter in the legacy of Deion Sanders, Samari Rolle, Antonio Cromartie, and Terrell Buckley (T-Buck, believe it or not, had a solid NFL career in the mid 1990s to early 2000s and was the last player to wear the legendary number "2" for FSU). If you ask most NFL teams, Rhodes is in the top 3 CBs in the class.
Prospect Name: Xavier Rhodes
Height/Weight: 6'2 210
Projected Round: 1
Projected 40: 4.4-4.5
31 Passes Defensed
Rhodes has elite size for a corner at 6'2. He's also a great athlete with fluid hips, the speed, vertical ability and technique to play any corner spot. He should be well prepared for the NFL as new Kentucky HC Mark Stoops tutored the FSU DBs as the DC. Stoops also coached the Miami Hurricanes' DBs during their run in the early 2000s so that's the level of teaching that Rhodes got. Rhodes had a great 3 year run, shutting down basically everyone he faced. The size allows him to be very physical when jamming at the line. The definition of big game elite shutdown corner as he shut down Michael Floyd during the 2011 Champ Sports Bowl (Floyd only had 3 catches for 22 yards until Rhodes left the game) and did well against Sammy Watkins and Nuke Hopkins. Clemson only gained their big plays when the safeties blew the coverages and Rhodes was left hung out to dry.
Rhodes isn't as effective when in the nickel role and covering slot receivers. The run defense is a little lacking as he likes to go for the big hit at times but wraps up properly on others. It's a coachable issue. He also has had minor bumps and bruises along the way, forcing him to sit out portions of games. The injury history is a tad bit concerning but nothing too serious to warrant a red flag.
Would I draft him at tenth overall? Yes. He has every tool in the box that you look for in a corner. Rhodes probably won't be Revis or pre Eagles Nnamdi Asomugha elite but the potential is there. Rhodes has what you can't teach: size and speed. Drafting Rhodes eases the concerns about the lack of depth for the Titans (Sensbaugh is unproven and Campbell is a special teams basket case) and allows either Verner or McCourty to slide down to the nickel role where they might be best suited. The Titans do have a good history with drafting a FSU corner as well. That Samari Rolle guy was pretty good for awhile there.