The Las Vegas Raiders have made meaningful changes to their offensive line this offseason. They traded right tackle Trent Brown, center Rodney Hudson, and right guard Gabe Jackson. On the other hand, they re-signed left guard Richie Incognito and center Andre James. Moreover, they signed former Houston Texans center Nick Martin, who is the most likely candidate to replace Hudson.
The Raiders made the Martin signing official. The Notre Dame product says he’s excited to be in Las Vegas, via Anthony Galaviz of The Fresno Bee. He added that he’s ‘just going to come in here and compete and excited to an opportunity. That is all you can ask for’.
A second-round selection in 2016, Martin was pretty solid in the last four years, making 62 starts for the Texans. He missed his entire rookie season after undergoing ankle surgery. However, he missed just two games ever since. While he has average Pro Football Focus run-blocking grades, he has posted positive pass-blocking marks. Last season, he posted a 74.0 grade and gave up just one sack.
Nick Martin should have a leg up on the Raiders’ starting center job
While moving on from Hudson wasn’t a popular move, the Raiders can’t delve into the past and can’t undo it. They are happy with how center Andre James has developed. For that reason, it wasn’t surprising to see him get a three-year $12.5 million deal. Nevertheless, he won’t be handed the starting job. Martin didn’t specify what position he will play in Las Vegas, but it’s fair to assume he will be in the thick of the competition to fill Hudson’s shoes.
Martin and James will most likely compete for the Raiders’ starting center job in training camp. It will be interesting to see who ends up claiming the job, as the loser will probably become the primary interior offensive line backup. Hudson was a staple of the Silver and Black for years, but if Martin can play at a high level, he could lessen the impact of his departure.
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Top Image: Matt Patterson/Associated Press