The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled mightily in pass coverage last season, finishing dead last in the NFL. They allowed 297 yards passing per game and an opposing quarterback rating of 93.5.
For more NFL Draft news and analysis, visit Mocking the Draft
Obivously, the secondary in Tampa Bay needs improvement. CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang agrees. In his latest mock draft, Rang projects the Buccaneers to select Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes with pick No. 13.
Considering that the Bucs led the NFL in rush defense and finished dead last against the pass it isn't difficult to imagine that they'll be looking for ways to disrupt quarterbacks. The local standout Rhodes has the length, physicality and cover skills Greg Schiano preferred while at Rutgers and could be a popular pick with the fan base.
Rhodes excelled at Florida State, amassing eight interceptions, 112 tackles and 10 passes defended in his three years as a Seminole. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine and finished as a top performer in the vertical jump.
Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft agrees with Rang and also projects Rhodes to the Buccaneers in his latest mock draft. On the selection, he says the following:
The best drafting philosophy is to take a combination of best player available that fits a need. That would be the case with Rhodes here. This is another pick that could be extremely fluid with Tampa being associated with Derek Cox and other free agent cornerbacks.
The aforementioned free agent cornerback Cox is only one of several available cornerbacks on the market, and Tampa Bay is expected to be an active player for those defensive backs. If indeed Tampa Bay does sign a top cornerback, then the draft outlook for the Buccaneers could change. But until then, Rhodes is the obvious pick.
More in the NFL:
• Free agent rankings: Best of the rest
• NFL free agency winners and losers
• Solved! The mysteries of Bill Belichick
• Internet commenter previews free agency
• Whoops! Warren Sapp drops f-bomb on hot mic
• NFL mock draft: Changes on the eve