Mock drafts are starting to get on my nerves. But they make for good discussion nonetheless, and here's a really good one: Xavier Rhodes over Star Lotulelei. That's what Matthew Fairburn is saying in his latest mock draft. With Star Lotulelei on the board, as well as Pewter Report favorite Lane Johnson (which I will never understand), the Buccaneers select Xavier Rhodes instead.
The Buccaneers are running thin in talent at cornerback and will either need to draft a player or spend a considerable amount in free agency. Unless they can score a player like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Sean Smith, targeting a corner in the first round is the way to go. Rhodes has established himself as the second-best cover player in the draft.
I can't let one remark there slide: the Buccaneers are not going after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He hates tackling. That is not what the Buccaneers want. Actually, another remark: I'm betting they actually sign Sean Smith. And maybe Brent Grimes, too. We'll see.
I love Xavier Rhodes, though. The more I watch him, the more he reminds me of Richard Sherman. And not necessarily Richard Sherman in college, but the way he is now. Rhodes isn't as polished and needs some technique work, but he shares a lot of Sherman's traits. But Star Lotulelei would be incredibly valuable, too, assuming his heart condition pans out. He could plug right in alongside Gerald McCoy, giving the Bucs one ridiculously talented defensive line.
What do you say? Would you pick Rhodes or Lotulelei here?