The Arizona Cardinals have begun releasing graphics for their starting depth chart going into training camp, specifically their offensive line. Traditionally, whenever a player is left off of the picture it raises some eyebrows. This example fits perfectly into that narrative as Rodney Hudson, a 33-year-old, 6-foot-2 center, who played at Florida State University was left off this newly released photo on Twitter.
The Cardinals released a post on Twitter highlighting four linemen for their 60 days until kickoff announcement. The players included were tackles D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum along with guards Will Hernandez and Justin Pugh. This could be a coincidence, but it has many fans wondering if Hudson might not be the starting center going forward.
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The Cardinals’ Lineman Has Cloudy Future For Cardinals
Hudson arrived in Arizona last season but has been in the National Football League since 2011, spending his first four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. After that he had a six year stint with the Oakland Raiders and their inaugural season in Las Vegas, until moving onto the Cardinals.
In 2021, Hudson started 13 games including the playoffs and played over 800 snaps. Hudson dealt with a rib injury after week six and did not return until week nine against the San Francisco 49ers. Since their playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the wild card round where Hudson played all 56 offensive snaps, he has seemed to go off the grid.
“We’re still working through it,” Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury stated during a press conference after the opening of minicamp in regards to Hudson’s murky future with the team. After failing to report to any offseason work and an unexcused verdict for his absence at minicamp it is unclear whether or not Hudson will be back in a Cardinals uniform, or any this season.
Potential Candidates That Could Replace Hudson This Season
If the situation with Hudson does not work itself out within the next few weeks it is completely possible that another player could start at center for Arizona. The two possibilities at the moment are rookie faces to the franchise. The first is Lecitus Smith, drafted in the sixth round out of Virginia Tech. The other is the Nigerian prospect, Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi, from Osi Umenyiora’s African training program who was signed before the NFL draft in April.
Both of these players have had little to no opportunity to show what they could do for the team in comparison to the veteran Hudson, who would be entering his 12th season if he decides to come back. With no experience playing in the NFL for either rookies, it would take some time to get used to starting in one of the tougher divisions in the league.
If the Cardinals are unable to work a deal out with Hudson it could become a major problem within their offensive line, forcing them to potentially start a rookie unless they want to use a player from a different position to fill the void.