The Las Vegas Raiders have had their share of bad signings in the last ten years. David Amerson’s and Sean Smith’s signings didn’t work out. Others like Jordy Nelson and Navarro Bowman were in the twilight of their career when they signed. Among so many misses, center Rodney Hudson stands out.
Originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, Hudson has been a staple of the Raiders offensive line since 2015. Ever since he joined the Silver and Black hog mollies, the center has dominated the line of scrimmage. In fact, Pro Football Focus has given him the highest single season pass-blocking grades in the last five years.
Highest single-season pass-blocking grades for centers since 2010
1. Rodney Hudson, 2019
2. Rodney Hudson, 2017
3. Rodney Hudson, 2018
4. Rodney Hudson, 2015
5. Rodney Hudson, 2016 pic.twitter.com/IZ9l06NIA7
— PFF (@PFF) May 14, 2020
Rodney Hudson is one of the best centers despite not having many awards
Although Hudson’s been one of the best centers in the NFL in recent years, he doesn’t have many accolades to his name. He does have three Pro Bowl designations to his name, but those aren’t as prestigious as their All-Pro counterparts. In his career, the veteran center has never received first team All-Pro honors, and was named second team just once.
For a players that is one of the best, if not the best, at his position, this is just simply unacceptable. The fact the Raiders have just qualified to the postseason once since he joined the team may have something to do with it. Nevertheless, one football analyst made sure to rank Hudson as the best at what he does.
Rodney Hudson is the cream of the crop of NFL centers
Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire named Hudson the best center in the NFL. The competition for the top spot was tough, ranked behind the Raiders center were marquee players such as Jason Kelce and Alex Mack. Farrar pointed out Hudson has become a more complete player with the passage of time.
Hudson has been among the best at his position for a number of years, going back to his time with the Chiefs from 2011 through 2014, but he’s just added to his power, leverage, and agility as the years have gone on. Any linebacker on a blitz would be able to tell you how effective Hudson is as a brick-wall blocker.
Hudson has given up just nine sacks and nine hits in his nine-year career. That takes into account his time with the Chiefs, but in Raiders uniform, he’s only allowed two sacks and five hits. That kind of sustained production is unheard of at the center position. For comparison, Kelce has given up 13 sacks and 30 hits in the same number of season as Hudson.
Even if Hudson doesn’t get mainstream recognition, the Raiders surely appreciate his contributions. The fact he’s the sole remaining member of the team’s 2015 free agent class speaks volumes about his value. If Las Vegas qualifies for the postseason in 2020, it will be in part due to Hudson’s on-field performance.
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Top Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press