This week, the NFL Network released it’s annual Top 100 list selected by current NFL players, one Raiders player, in particular, was disrespected.
The Raiders did have two players make the list: Tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs. The pair came in at numbers 99 and 72 respectively. One shocking omission was Rodney Hudson. The Raiders center did not make the list despite having a tremendous season in which he was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro. Even if you do not value those things, Hudson was good even by actual football metrics. He led centers last season in pass-blocking grades according to Pro Football Focus. In spite of all this, he has yet to gain the respect of his peers. Hudson has never been selected to the Top 100. One has to ask, why are NFL players sleeping on him?
Bias Against Linemen
On the players’ list, the gritty linemen tend to get overlooked in favor of the more glamorous skill positions. No offensive lineman has ever been in the top ten since the inaugural list in 2011. On the newest list, only nine offensive linemen total made the Top 100. Only one of those eight, Jason Kelce of the Eagles, is a center. By comparison, 17 wide receivers made the list. Essentially players think more highly of a top 20 receiver in the league than they do a top-three center. Basically, if you want to make the list as a lineman, you need to be arguably the best in the league at your position. The thing is, Hudson is arguably the best center in the league. So what else does he have working against him?
Bad Teams Have Less Players on the List
Shocking headline, I know. Six of those nine offensive linemen were on playoff teams. Only one player in the top ten, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, was on a team with a losing record. The Raiders were more mediocre than bad last year, but for most of Hudson’s time with the Silver and Black, the team has not been what one would consider ‘good’. Hudson was on a couple of decent Chiefs teams at the beginning of his career, but that was before he emerged as one of the league’s elite centers. But even after the 2016 season when he was a crucial part of a 12-4 team, it still was not enough to make the 2017 list. What else could it be?
In the decade of Top 100 lists, the Raiders have only made it 14 times according to Pro-Football-Reference. Over the last decade, the Raiders have had the league’s fifth-worst record, so the lack of much inclusion on the list is understandable. However, this looks worse when you look at the decade’s worst team, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have made the list 23 times. That seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? The 12-win team went on to have four in the ensuing Top 100. The Seahawks, who only won ten games that year, had twice as many players make the list. It just seems like the Raiders don’t seem to get their due on this list.
Hudson plays at historically disrespected position. He also plays on a historically disrespected team. That team has not exactly earned much respect lately either. Put it all together, and it makes more sense why Hudson was left off the list. However, that does not make it any less of a travesty.
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*Top photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
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