Even though the Oakland Raiders gave up 52 sacks last year, there was still one member of the offensive line that was able to shine.
Center Rodney Hudson has been called “the best center I’ve ever coached” by head coach Jon Gruden. He’s been a force in the middle since the Raiders signed him away from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015. Not just Jon Gruden has taken notice of the talent that Hudson brings to the offensive line.
Pro Football Focus has graded Hudson the best pass-blocking center in the NFL for the fourth year in a row.
On a team marred by inconsistency for almost two decades, Hudson has been one bright spot each year since his acquisition. PFF didn’t stop there, they also named Hudson to the second team of their 2018 NFL clutch team. He didn’t make the first team because Philidelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce was superior in run-blocking, but when it comes to pass-blocking, Hudson has no equal.
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Outlook for 2019
The Oakland Raiders have moved on from several big named veterans since Jon Gruden was hired last year – Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, Kelechi Osemel to name a few. Keeping Rodney Hudson is a wise choice as he’s still just 29-years old and has at least five more good years left in the tank. He’s the perfect leader for a unit that is going to have young guys like second-year tackle Kolton Miller playing next to notorious firecracker Richie Incognito.
Hudson’s pass-blocking skills will be as important as ever this year with the Raiders’ new loaded receiving corps. Hudson isn’t necessarily known for his run-blocking game, but hopefully, he can improve in that area with a new talented running back in first-round pick Josh Jacobs.
With the additions of tackle Trent Brown and the aforementioned Richie Ingocnito, expect big things from the Raiders’ offensive line in 2019.