After waiting through half the first round for the first Florida State Seminole to be taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, two went back to back as the draft rolled into its final hour on Thursday night.
Just minutes after Bjoern Werner was selected by the Colts- in the process becoming the highest drafted German player in NFL history- Xavier Rhodes went to the Vikings with the 25th pick.
Rhodes- the third and final Seminole taken on Thursday- is a 6-2 220-pound corner out of Miami Norland who the Vikings hope will shore up their secondary in the pass-happy NFC North. Originally a wide receiver, Rhodes drew comparisons to Dwayne Bowe when he was recruited to Florida State and arrived on campus with the belief he would be lining up on offense.
That wasn't the plan though and Rhodes was forced to switch sides and sit for a season to learn. Over the course of his next three years he developed a reputation as a very physical corner that many ACC quarterbacks didn't want to throw against. He tallied 140 tackles, picked off 8 passes and was considered one of the top corners in the country headed into the draft.
The Vikings clearly agreed.
“I’m extremely happy for Xavier,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He made the sacrifice of switching from receiver to corner and will go on to have a tremendous career in the NFL. He was a staple on our defense, really anchoring down that boundary corner spot for such a long time which was a key position for us. He too is another great young man and great representative for Florida State.”
Rhodes benefited from the success of big-bodied corners like Richard Sherman this past season and could potentially grow into a very good corner at the next level. But they key phrase in that sentence is "potentially grow." For such an alpha corner it was troubling that even when Florida State booted Greg Reid at the start of 2012, Rhodes never managed to lock down the field corner job.
Given his size and athleticism, the fact a true freshman and a 5-9 sophomore platooned at the field-corner for most of the Seminoles 2012 campaign is a bit of a question mark.
But Rhodes also provides plenty of extremely attractive intangibles and played through a number of injuries at Florida State that were not always publicly disclosed but often left you wondering how close to full-strength he was actually at. His toughness will serve him well in the NFL.
At 25, Rhodes is excellent value for a Vikings team that already has Harrison Smith and Chris Cook, but needed to find a replacement for Antoine Smith who signed with Seattle during the offseason.
Rhodes joins Christian Ponder in Minnesota. The two also played together in college.
In fact, Florida State fans without an NFL affiliation now have two interesting candidates in Minnesota and Buffalo. The Vikings have Ponder, Rhodes and Letroy Guion, while Buffalo now has EJ Manuel, Shawn Powell, Nigel Bradham and Zebrie Sanders.
I'll have a Day Two draft preview tomorrow morning as well as coverage for you throughout the day.
Keep checking back.
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