Rodney Hudson was known as the “poor-man’s Pouncey” coming out of Florida State in the 2011 draft. He had good mobility, balance, hands, awareness, and position versatility, but scouts didn’t love his frame and he wasn’t known as a mover in the run game.
The Pouncey Brothers got drafted Top 20 and Rodney Hudson went 55th, but when Kansas City picked him they knew they were getting their future starting Center. Although he only started 1 game as a rookie, Kansas City played Hudson in all 16 games to prepare him to take over longtime Center Casey Wiegmann’s job. In 2012, Hudson broke a bone in his leg early in the season, forcing him to miss all but the first 3 games. Kansas City struggled badly finishing 2-14, with the 32nd ranked offense.
In 2013, Hudson became the full-time starter, playing in every game for the next 2 years for the Chiefs. Under new Head Coach, Andy Reid, led by anchor Rodney Hudson and newly signed QB, Alex Smith, Kansas City’s offense went from dead last in 2012 to 6th overall in 2013. A monumental improvement mostly credited to a new scheme and arm, but also due to an offensive line upgrade.
Free Agency hit in 2015, and the Raiders pounced on the opportunity to make Hudson one of the highest paid Centers (5 years $44.5M) with an offer Kansas City could not match.
Hudson proved durable with the Raiders, missing just 4 games total in 6 seasons, and incredibly consistent, giving up just 3 sacks total in that span with just 1 sack allowed in 15′, 17′, and 20′ and no sacks allowed in 16′, 18′, and 19′. Before adding Hudson in 2014, the Raiders’ Offense ranked 31st in the league. After adding him, their offense jumped to 17th in 2015, and 7th in 2016 (a similar just not as drastic improvement as in Kansas City).
Looking at total offensive ranking may be an oversimplified way of interpreting the impact of most centers. Rodney Hudson isn’t “most centers”. Hudson is a historically elite pass blocker and impacts the offense in all aspects of the game. He helps the guys around him like no other center I’ve ever seen here before.
Bradley Chubb gets between the LT and LG, but Hudson not only saves them, he blocks #55 and #57, taking out 2 defenders w/ 1 block that weren't at all his responsibility pic.twitter.com/7dF8ayIHRe— Around The Block – Arizona Cardinals (@Cardinals_ATB) May 19, 2021
Not only does Hudson rarely give up sacks himself, he helps decrease the amount of sacks allowed by the guys around him. He is a physical example how an elite center can make the whole offensive line better.
Rodney Hudson does a great job keeping his head on a swivel— Kyle (@marblekyle) May 17, 2021
Here he is picking up a stunt from TJ Watt, riding and redirecting his momentum shoving him off balance pic.twitter.com/YNgVD9ltvw
Hudson’s known for his elite pass-blocking, but he’s no slouch in the run game either. He has the agility and athleticism to pull and work to the 2nd level and possesses the nasty demeanor that Arizona’s offensive lines have often lacked to finish guys to the ground.
Rodney Hudson oh my goodness pic.twitter.com/cpj5icvcgb— Mac (@azsportsfien) March 18, 2021
Hudson may be the best offensive lineman the team has had since Luis Sharpe in the 90’s, and could end up being the best center in Arizona to date. The Cardinals’ offense was already ranked 13th in the league last year. Add in the Hudson effect, and Arizona should have a Top 5 offense in 2021.
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