Why cornerback Xavier Rhodes fits 49ers in 2021 NFL free agency, per PFF

Dalton Johnson
·2 min read

Why PFF picks CB Rhodes as free-agent target for 49ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Entering NFL free agency, the 49ers could be a blank slate when it comes to cornerbacks on their depth chart. Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett and the rest of the 49ers' corners could all be gone. This is a problem, to say the least.

Whether it be free agency, through the 2021 NFL Draft or both, the 49ers will have to address the cornerback position. Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson believes there's a veteran set to hit the open market who makes sense for San Francisco. 

Xavier Rhodes is a three-time Pro Bowl corner and former All-Pro selection. Monson also sees him as a fit for the 49ers, no matter who's running their defense. 

"Xavier Rhodes isn’t a long-term answer, but he showed this year he can still be a top-flight cover guy when healthy," Monson wrote. "He allowed just 51.3 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught this season and had 10 pass breakups." 

Rhodes starred for the Minnesota Vikings his first seven seasons in the NFL. He then signed a one-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts last season and was a key factor to them reaching the playoffs. The 30-year-old had two interceptions -- one returned for touchdown -- 12 passes defensed and 42 tackles this season. 

He also had a 76.3 overall PFF grade.

Rhodes made the Pro Bowl in 2019, but in reality, he no longer looked like an elite cornerback. He didn't record a single interception and had a career-low six passes defensed. Opposing teams were happy to throw his way. That includes the 49ers in the playoffs, too. 

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But this past season, Rhodes proved he could still have plenty left in the tank. This likely wouldn't be a long-term contract but the 49ers need to bring in a veteran corner. They can still target a cornerback in the first two rounds of the draft and have Rhodes as a leader for a rookie. 

Whether it be Rhodes or another name, the 49ers are sure to search the cornerback market far and wide this offseason.

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