Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the Vikings' picks: 1/25 - Xavier Rhodes, CB, 6-1, 217, Florida State...A big, shutdown press corner who will come in handy in the NFC North, where the Vikings have to match up with receivers such as 6-5 Calvin Johnson and 6-4 Brandon Marshall. The Vikings play more of a zone-based defensive scheme, but Rhodes and 6-2 veteran Chris Cook could give them more man, press options in the future. QUOTE TO NOTE: "I believe anywhere above Florida is cold." -- Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings' pick at No. 25 and a person who has never lived north of Tallahassee. - The Sports Xchange
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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 solidified his first-round status with a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in February.
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 despite a fast 40 clocking at the combine, 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
Tied for the team lead with three interception. Named first-team All-ACC by the coaches and media. Finished the regular season with seven pass break-ups and 34 tackles.
Preseason watch list candidate for the Bednarik Award, Jim Thorpe Award and Nagurski Trophy.
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...made five tackles at Clemson, at Wake Forest and Duke...tallied a season-high six tackles against Maryland...intercepted his first pass of the season against NC State...finished with four tackles in the win over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl...selected as the Mr. Dependable Skill Award winner at the team's annual banquet.
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...also earned National Defensive Freshman of the Year honors from Collegefootballnews.com...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...credited with three pass breakups in pivotal Atlantic Division wins over Boston College and Clemson...also intercepted a pass in the end zone against the Tigers which proved to swing the momentum in the Seminoles' 16-13 victory...previous interceptions came against BYU and NC State...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...recovered the first two fumbles of his career in FSU's home finale against Florida in a 31-7 rout...named one of the top newcomers on defense at the annual Florida State football banquet.
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.
2009: Suffered a season-ending hand injury while playing special teams in the second game of the season.
2011: Suffered a knee injury in the team's bowl victory over Notre Dame and was sidelined for the team's spring practices.
Excelled on both sides of the football in high school...led Miami Norland in both rushing and receiving as a senior, earned Miami Herald All-Dade honors as an all-purpose back...also earned All-Dade honors on the defensive side of the ball...played in the 12th annual Nike South Florida All-Star game...as a junior recorded more than 1,000 all-purpose yards...chose FSU over offers from West Virginia, Auburn and FIU...born June 19, 1990.
Draft Scout Player News
04/28/13 - A closer look at the Vikings' picks: 1/25 - Xavier Rhodes, CB, 6-1, 217, Florida State...A big, shutdown press corner who will come in handy in the NFC North, where the Vikings have to match up with receivers such as 6-5 Calvin Johnson and 6-4 Brandon Marshall. The Vikings play more of a zone-based defensive scheme, but Rhodes and 6-2 veteran Chris Cook could give them more man, press options in the future. QUOTE TO NOTE: "I believe anywhere above Florida is cold." -- Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings' pick at No. 25 and a person who has never lived north of Tallahassee. - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - Rhodes, a shutdown press corner, joins Chris Cook in giving the Vikings a pair of 6-2 corners in a division that has them facing Detroit's 6-5 Calvin Johnson, Chicago's 6-4 Brandon Marshall and Green Bay's stable of wideouts six times a year. "With Sharrif Floyd, I went through 1,000 scenarios with that 23rd and 25th pick," Spielman said. "And I can just tell you honestly that he was not (available) in one of those scenarios."
Spielman said the run on offensive linemen - eight were picked in the top 20 selections - was greater than he could have imagined and helped force the defensive players he targeted to the bottom of the first round. Spielman was explaining all of this to reporters when a media relations employee interrupted. The Patriots were interested in dealing the 29th pick and Spielman was needed to close the deal. He sprinted back upstairs, where he pulled the trigger that he hopes will make people forget Harvin, the disgruntled superstar who was traded to Seattle for a first- and seventh-round pick this year and a third-rounder next year. - The Sports Xchange
04/25/13 - DANE BRUGLER'S FINAL 2013 DRAFT BOARD: 12. CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (6-2, 210, 4JR)...There are some questions about his long speed, but Rhodes is a true bump-and-run corner who can match up with physical receivers and stay in their hip pocket. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
04/25/13 - ROB RANG'S FINAL 2013 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: 16. *Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: Despite the 6-2, 210-pound corner wowing during measured drills at the combine, Rhodes left Indianapolis slipping down some NFL boards after a less-than-impressive showing during the positional workout and in interviews. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
04/08/13 - 2013 Florida State Pro Day: There were 32 teams represented at Florida State Pro Day on March 19. They ran outdoors and the field was damp due to prior rain. It was about 70 degrees. Xavier Rhodes CB (6-1 ½, 207 pounds) - He kept his times from the combine with one exception. He ran a 4.65 in the short shuttle drill and a 7.29 in the three-cone drill. He had an excellent workout. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com