The Jacksonville Jaguars have quite a few needs in the 2013 NFL Draft, which means for the most part their options are wide open as far as who they should pick. The next player we're going to look at is a big defensive back who should fit right in on Gus Bradley's defense if he runs the same style of defense he did in Seattle, Florida State's Xavier Rhodes.
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Florida State's Xavier Rhodes is among the newer breed of cornerbacks in the NFL that are giants, compared to their peers. Rhodes is over 6-feet tall and in the 215 pound range, making him the size of a small linebacker but with the coverage skills of a cornerback. Rhodes also has long arms which help him when playing press coverage and knocking passes out of the air.
The biggest question with Rhodes is going to be his top-end speed, but he seems to be able to keep up with most wide receivers. The smaller, quicker speed receivers will give Rhodes trouble at the NFL level if he can't knock them off their route with his punch at the line, especially with double moves.
Rhodes raw athleticism however is a big asset to couple with his size. He also does a nice job of locating the football when it's in the air and making a play on the football to intercept or bat the ball away.
In Florida State's defense Rhodes generally played a mix of press and off-man coverage, but always was able to work in a bit at zone coverage. His best work is when he's playing the boundary corner position and is allowed to play press-man coverage and be physical. Rhodes does a nice job jamming with his feet at the line and opens his hips well to run down field.
At the NFL level Rhodes should fit right in as a man-coverage corner, especially on a team who likes to play press coverage. Rhodes can play off-coverage adequately enough, but he really excels playing on the line. Sitting Rhodes back in a Cover-2 scheme or in zone coverage really puts his best skills to waste.
In the run game Rhodes is a willing defender, not afraid to take on blocks and get into the pile, but his tackling does need some work. He has a tendency to shoulder players to the ground rather than wrapping up and bringing them down. This at times leads to missed tackles and whiffs in the running game and short passing game, giving up big yards after contact, but that is more a technique then than a corner who shys away from coverage.