The post-draft sex glow is all about us as we move into the doldrums of the NFL off-season, but there's still much to talk about with the Vikings 2013 NFL Draft picks. In Purple Jesus Diaries' NFL Draft-or-Bust Off, we review each pick in turn and provide some further amateur insight for you. Previously we looked at Sharrif Floyd, and today, we continue with the Vikings second pick of the first round, cornerback Xavier Rhodes from Florida State University ...
Xavier Rhodes was the 25th pick of the first round, what ended up being the Vikings second, first round pick, the pick that was traded to the team in the Percy Harvin deal. So if you're keeping track at home, Harvin now equals Xavier Rhodes, a guard from UCLA (Bond, Travis Bond) taken in this year's 7th round by the Vikings, and an unknown talent in next year's draft. Feeling pretty good about that? Obviously, no one knows how that trade plays out yet (except for me, because I'm a genius) and it doesn't make any sense to put pressure on Rhodes to create the same type of defensive impact that Harvin had on the offense, because they were essentially swapped, but isn't this kind of hyperbole fun?! ... No? ... OK. Well, Rhodes is 6'1" tall and 210 pounds, so does that do anything for you? Yes, it should.
Despite his name being "Xavier," official records have it more of a soft X ... Or wait ... Rather just a straight up Z sound ... So you're supposed to pronounce his first name as "ZAY-vee-er." So no ex. But I don't care. A guy with an X in his name on your team, and we get to come up with all sorts of awesome nicknames. My favorite, immediately, is "Professor X" because the glasses Xavier wore when being introduced by the team make him look like a smarty pants. But other options I would be OK with include "The X-Factor" or "Mr. X-Treme" or "Terminator X" if we want to go the Public Enemy route. In fact, I may like that one the best. CUT 'EM UP, TERMINATOR X!! Drop your ideas in the comments.
He Be Tweeting?
Xavier is on Twitter. You can find him at @XavierRhodes27. He's not super active there, which is probably a good thing, because then he'd start friending porn stars like Frank Walker use to do. Rhodes is also on Instagram at @_xavier27. Yes, there were some shirtless pictures, and yes, I've added them to the Shirtless Vikings photo gallery. You're welcome.
The Sexy Stuff
Let's get the obvious right out of the way. Rhodes is an awesome pick for the Vikings, who were looking for some additional size and depth at the cornerback spot. Rhodes is a big kid and will be able to match up well with a lot of the larger and more physical receivers in the NFC North. He also offers a good book end next to Chris Cook as well, who admittedly is turning into a decent corner, even if he did beat the **** out of his girlfriend. Rhodes has always been touted as being a physical, handsy cornerback who is great in press coverage. He'll mess some people up, and I can see him easily getting into the head of Mr. Crazy Brandon Marshall and pissing him off good. He won't replace Antoine Winfield, but he'll give us two nice looking cornerbacks on the outside that we haven't had in a long time. Also, he'll be good for a couple of interceptions a year, he's rangy for pass break ups, and he tracks the ball well with his eyes instead of just relying on the receiver to tell him where it is. Those are good football things for a cornerback, in case you were wondering.
Slow Your Roll
Oddly enough, the knock on Rhodes is that he's not that great in zone coverage, which kind of makes me wonder why he was so high on the Vikings board. So you play predominantly a Cover-2, zone based defense and you pick a guy who excels in press coverage but is a bit weaker in covering an area? That seems odd. Not to say Rhodes can't learn, or that the Vikings won't change their scheme, but I would imagine something needing to give in order to getting Rhodes in a position where he could really excel. He's also not a huge tackling cornerback like Winfield was (sad) and can't play the slot like Winfield could (double sad), so unless Josh Robinson all of a sudden changes his name to Antoine, the Vikings will still be a missing a big part of their defense despite draft Rhodes. Finally, I would imagine he'll get lots of penalties called on him early in his career as he adjusts to NFL reffing, because the NFL is a bunch of vaginas in letting CBs use their hands, which Rhodes likes to do, so that will suck.
I'm cautiously optimistic about this pick. I don't love as much as I initially did the more I research Rhodes, but I see the obvious potential in the guy, too. I'm nervous about what he's NOT adding as a player that the Vikings had relied on for so long with Winfield. But hey, change can be a good thing too (UNLESS IT'S THE UNIFORMS), so maybe the team is going a totally different route on defense. Who knows.
I'm also curious to see how Rhodes warms up. He's seemed a bit shy, or quiet, or maybe just mature and thoughtful, which is fine too. But I kind of want to see him go crazy and kill someone on the football field. I want him to have some Jared Allen Crazy in his eyes. I'd worry that if Calvin Johnson goes buck wild on him in a game that he'll get shell shocked like Marcus McCauley. Remember that disaster?
There's no indication that any of that will happen with Rhodes. He's got all the tools to be an awesome CB, and I am excited for that. I guess there are just so many factors that go into how the Vikings are planning on using him, and how much he can adjust his play style to scheme before I label this as the correct pick or not. I do have big hopes for Xavier though, and like him as a raw talent, so I'll be very happy when he puts it all together and locks down receivers in the NFC North, making Aaron Rodgers flail, Jay Cutler cry, and Matthew Stafford contemplate suicide in an abandoned Detroit warehouse. Should be good stuff.