1. Xavier Rhodes
- First Round (2013)
Xavier Rhodes tops the list of cornerback drafted in the first three rounds by the Minnesota Vikings. No doubt, as his career soured with the Vikings, this will be met with some controversy. With his departure from the Vikings this offseason, after signing with the Indianapolis Colts, Rhodes is the last player from the Vikings’ 2013 draft. Taken 25th overall, Rhodes was one of three first-round selections that season along with defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Rhodes tops the ranking with 97 starts and 104 games played. He leaves the Vikings with 10 interceptions and one touchdown. As a rookie, he started six games before becoming the starter in 2014. Over the next six seasons, Rhodes was a durable cornerback missing only five games. This despite the fact he would appear to suffer a career-ending injury at some point in a game and require assistance to come off the field, only to make a miraculous recovery and run back onto the field.
Rhodes’ career peaked in 2017 when he was named First-Team All-Pro. According to Pro Football Reference, his approximate value peaked that year to an 11 after climbing from a six in 2014 and 2015 and a nine in 2016. In his first five seasons, he is credited with at least 10 pass breakups each year. #RhodesClosed became extremely popular on Twitter as he was seen as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
Something happened over his last two seasons as Rhodes became less effective. Last season according to the advanced statistics reported by Pro Football Reference, Rhodes allowed 81.5 percent of the passes thrown to the receiver he was covering to be completed. It seems the timing was ripe for him to move on. At the same time, it still leaves a big hole in terms of experience in the Vikings’ cornerback situation.