NFL Mock Draft 2013: Xavier Rhodes enters the picture for Buccaneers

Mike Ehrmann

Xavier Rhodes has steadily risen over the past few weeks, and he now appears to be in play as a mid first-round pick. Yes, you read that right: not Dee Milliner or Johnthan Banks, but Xavier Rhodes could be the front-runner for the Buccaneers' first-round draft pick this April. The FSU cornerback has apparently jumped ahead of Banks in most draft rankings.

More: Three-round mock draft | Bucs salary cap looks good

It's not as weird as you may think. Rhodes is a big cornerback at 6'2", 217 lbs. He's physical, which is exactly what the Buccaneers want, and he doesn't shy away from tackling -- although his technique needs some work. He has the speed to hang with receivers down the field in man coverage, and looks good in zone coverage as well. He's an all-around, versatile cornerback who perhaps isn't elite, but who should be an instant, quality starter and has the potential to grow into a special player. Which is why Dan Kadar has him going to the Bucs in his latest mock draft.

After trading Aqib Talib, the Buccaneers' secondary was in shambles. Xavier Rhodes may seem like a reach here, but the gap between him and Milliner is not as big as some think. He's a rangy cornerback who would step in and upgrade this secondary immediately.

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