James Hudson - OT, Cincinnati
By the numbers:
6'5", 313 pounds, 32-7/8" arms per pro day measurements.
2020: All-American Conference First Team selection.
James Hudson's athleticism is easily his biggest advantage as a player, and it shows up in his run blocking reps. He has fluid and flexible hips that allow him to consistently remain square with his opponents in space. He moves quickly and climbs to the second level of the defense with ease. Hudson has experience as a lead blocker, gets off the line of scrimmage effectively and is an explosive athlete.
While Hudson has a long way to go as a pass blocker, there is a foundation for success. He possesses strong, heavy hands and a solid punch at the point of attack. Quick feet make him comfortable in vertical sets and when facing rushers who accelerate up the arc. Hudson has good functional strength in his upper body.
Overall, Hudson's size profile isn't great. His height is slightly below average for a left tackle, and his arm length is shorter than many teams prefer. He's gained some weight since the Senior Bowl, which bodes well for his ability to continue possibly doing so moving forward. In order to be a strong presence on the outside, more lower body strength may be required.
In an offensive tackle class featuring limited NFL-ready talent, Hudson presents more of the same. He isn't a day one starter and will need at least a full season to iron out the rougher parts of his game. He misplaces his punch and while recovery speed isn't a problem, recovery technique is. Hudson opens with a wide base, although he doesn't set a good anchor on a down-to-down basis. Consistency in balance and form will be something he has to work on in order to reach his high ceiling.
How Hudson fits with the Chiefs:
With the Chiefs having released Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, tackle is a legitimate need in both the short- and long-term. Lucas Niang projects to compete with veteran Mike Remmers at right tackle, but the team has yet to acquire a starting left tackle. Hudson isn't a starting-caliber player this year, but he'd be a terrific fit in a pass-happy Chiefs offense that also features a zone run scheme. He's a great developmental left tackle for the future.
Hudson handled the transition from right tackle to left tackle very well last season. He's more than athletic enough to stick on the left side long-term, even after posting some surprisingly poor numbers at Cincinnati's pro day. He needs time to develop but if he takes care of business and becomes a well-rounded tackle, he has definite starting potential. Hudson grades out as an early fourth-round pick and a natural fit with what many modern offenses want to do in both the run and passing games.