I've been on the Xavier Rhodes bandwagon for quite a while. I think the Florida State cornerback is incredibly talented, albeit a bit raw in some aspects of his technique. But he, to me, is the best press-man cornerback in the draft, the most physical cornerback in the draft and fits the Buccaneers' scheme perfectly. Amusingly, we now have some statistics to back up the idea that he may even be better than Dee Milliner. Enter Second Round Stats.
That website charted the three top cornerbacks (Dee Milliner, Johnthan Banks and Xavier Rhodes) and came to some amusing conclusions. Most notably that Xavier Rhodes across the board had the best overall season and the best statistics. Yep. Check it out:
Yes, Rhodes was targeted least often of all the cornerbacks, a clear sign of respect. But even when he was targeted he fared better than both Milliner and Banks. Combining pass interference penalties and completions, Milliner allowed 14% successful plays, Banks allowed 15% and Rhodes allowed an astonishing 8%.
There are more facts speaking in favor of Banks, though. What about the technique they played? Well, Banks lined up in a press position more often than Milliner and Banks, and actually pressed the receiver more often too.
The site has some more statistics,though. Average distance of completion? Rhodes wins again, by a mile, with the average completion traveling just 5.7 yards through the air, versus 8.67 and 8.08 for the other two cornerbacks. In first downs allowed he wins by a mile as well.
I find these statistics fascinating, although their value remains to be seen. Charting cornerbacks is a difficult job and mistakes are always made in those situations. Plus, it's entirely possible that Banks and Milliner consistently played tougher opposition, or were simply asked to do different things. But these raw statistics provide a pretty stark argument in favor of Rhodes -- even over Milliner.