Center Rodney Hudson is the heart of the Las Vegas Raiders offense and he isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
Ever since he joined the Silver and Black, Hudson has been an anchor that’s allowed the team to field competent offenses. The Raiders continue to have issues for what seems like an eternity but Hudson’s a constant, both in the running and passing games. Even though 2020 was a year to forget, let’s take a brief look back at Hudson’s sixth campaign with the Autumn Wind.
For starters, Hudson continues to be one of the most reliable Raiders on the field, especially since 2016. In that span, the center has only missed one game, which’s impressive considering how taxing playing in the trenches is. Hudson has played in 100 percent of the team’s offensive snaps during that span, with the only exception being 2019. At the age of 31, it doesn’t seem like Hudson’s slowing down, however, the line around him needs some attention.
By the numbers for Hudson and the Raiders
Prior to the 2020 season, Pro Football Focus pointed out Hudson’s dominance in pass blocking. From 2015 through 2019, he graded at nearly 90.0 or higher each respective season. Unfortunately, his play took a hit in 2020, and his pass blocking grade went down to 70.0, a concern for sure. However, as a collective unit, the Raiders surrendered fewer sacks than in 2019, down from 29 to 26. In other words, Hudson’s held down his end but the unit surely suffered from injuries to Richie Incognito and Trent Brown. In fact, only one sack is actually attributed to Hudson per PFF.
💪🏾RT @PFF: Highest pass-blocking grades among centers since 2015:
2015 – Rodney Hudson 89.9
2016 – Rodney Hudson 89.3
2017 – Rodney Hudson 91.1
2018 – Rodney Hudson 90.8
2019 – Rodney Hudson 91.2
Rodney Hudson is the gold standard at center in the NFL pic.twitter.com/asEx8uf7Cl
— James Kirk (@MrKirk23) June 26, 2020
Did the running game suffer a setback in 2020?
Last season, the Raiders’ total rushing yards increased from 1,893 to 1,916. The average yardage per carry as a team decreased on a minuscule level, from 4.3 to 4.2 by the season’s end. So the numbers certainly don’t show a decline but you can tell the running game wasn’t as dominant on film, at least not like in 2019. Hudson’s individual performance actually improved significantly, and his PFF run-blocking grade jumped from 59.5 to 72.7.
It’s possible that with the team having another disappointing season end with a collapse means Hudson gets overlooked. Even if the Raiders ended at 8-8, it wasn’t due to any lack of contributions from Hudson. The fact is that ’61’ continues to be arguably the NFL’s best center while managing to be under-the-radar. Perhaps if Jon Gruden’s team can return to the playoffs, Hudson will start to see more well-deserved accolades.
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*Top Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports