Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Mocking the Draft has its latest mock draft up, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are once again saddled with cornerback Johnthan Banks out of Mississippi State. It's a bit of a choice by default at this point: the Bucs have a massive need at cornerback, and Banks is generally seen as the second best cornerback in the draft.
Quick, name Tampa's two starting cornerbacks at the end of the season. If you said Leonard Johnson and E.J. Biggers, which is correct, you probably Googled it. The Buccaneers don't need a cornerback because Ronde Barber is old. He's primarily a free safety at this point.
Banks would be a big talent upgrade at cornerback. He has the skill to be a No. 1 corner with size and good anticipation ability. Banks and Johnson could make for a good duo for years to come.
Easy, right? Intriguingly, both Sheldon Richardson and Johnathan Hankins are still on the board in this mock draft, and disruptive defensive tackles are always valuable. Tight ends Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz are always a legitimate option, too, but one player intrigues me a bit more: cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Mocking the Draft has him going 28th overall, and in their scouting report they compare him to Ladarius Webb
Conclusion: Xavier Rhodes should come off the board in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He's going to be best suited lining up in press-man coverage. He's got all of the physical tools to be a very effective cornerback in the NFL. If he can continue to stay healthy and improve his play recognition, Rhodes could end up being the best cornerback in this class. He has true shutdown potential.
Rhodes has been climbing in recent mock drafts, as journalists get a better sense of what pro scouts are looking for. I wouldn't be surprised to see him continue his rise and become the Bucs' first-round pick.