Last week I wrote about NC State corner David Amerson, who owns the record for interceptions in a season. I spent much of the piece contrasting Amerson’s style of play with Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Alabama’s Dee Milliner, two corners considered to be in the same tier to begin the year. After examining Amerson’s game, I think he has a chance to become a starting corner for a team that doesn’t need him to play press. Otherwise, free safety might be in his future. Either way, I no longer think he’s in the same tier as Rhodes and Milliner.
Rhodes is a promising player because he plays smaller than his size and it’s the one of the few instances where this characterization is a compliment. At 6’1, 217 lbs., Rhodes is an inch taller and two pounds lighter than former LSU star and Cardinals rising stud, Patrick Peterson.
Some have compared Rhodes to Peterson because of the similar physical dimensions, Rhodes’ speed and quickness, and the junior’s physical play. I see the basis for the stylistic comparison, but Peterson is a better tackler. When a corner can stone Julio Jones or make it tough on Trent Richardson one –on-one at the goal line a player like Peterson is in a different class.
What I have seen from Rhodes is the skill to develop into an excellent press corner in addition to a player who also demonstrates skill with trail, off man, and zone coverage. Mlliner is a better player at this stage of the trio’s careers, but Rhodes’ chances of developing into a special cornerback is the highest of the three. Read the rest at FootballOutsider’s.com