Derek Carr is the man who gets the football, throws it, calls the audibles at the line of scrimmage and leads his team in the huddle.
But a year after the Raiders selected Carr in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, the franchise picked up its second quarterback – the guy who snaps the ball to Carr on every play.
Veteran Rodney Hudson, who played his first four NFL seasons with the Chiefs, came to Oakland in 2015 as a free agent and has been the rock in the middle of one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. And, while his job is to snap the ball and block, Hudson does far more than that.
Former Oakland offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave called Carr and Hudson “a dynamic duo, like having two quarterbacks on the field.”
Hudson is a serious student of the game. He’s dedicated to watching hours of film on every opponent’s defense so he can call out blocking assisgnments and adjustments as necessary before every snap.
“Rodney’s always talking about different looks that we see in games,” running back Jalen Richard told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle late last season. “Not chitchat. He takes the job seriously and he is brilliant.”
Not only brilliant, but athletic and impactful.
In 2016, Hudson was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time, joining fellow linemates Donald Penn (left tackle) and Kelechi Osemele (left guard). When the Raiders report for training camp in late July, the franchise will begin work knowing it potentially has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Hudson, in fact, was recognized this week by the analytic website Pro Football Focus as the top pass-blocking center in the entire league.
Wrote Cam Mellor of Pro Football Focus Monday: “Hudson was one of just three centers last season to log at least 382 snaps in pass protection and not allow a single sack nor QB hit. Of those three players, Hudson pass protected on the most snaps with 629. His 98.9 pass-block efficiency rating topped all centers and was the third highest among any offensive lineman across all five positions.
“Of his four years in which he has played the majority of his respective team’s snaps at center, this (2016) is the first year Hudson had not allowed a sack; 2016 marked the second consecutive season in which Hudson fielded the league’s highest (pass-block efficiency) among centers, and his third in a row in the top two.”
In fact, earlier this month, Hudson ranked second among all Raiders as graded by Pro Football Focus. Coming in at No. 1 was defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack, with a 93.9 grade. Then came Hudson (88.7) and Osemele (87.7).