Rodney Hudson: the Las Vegas Raiders Rock who Doesn't Roll

Rodney Hudson remains a foundational rock in the Las Vegas Raiders' past and future

One of the apparent consequences of the disappointing 2020 season of the Las Vegas Raider is that center Rodney Hudson was not selected to the AFC team for the Pro Bowl, although the game will not be played this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs were the only Raiders named to the team.

Rodney Hudson not making the Pro Bowl is absurd.  The National Football League's top center not receiving that honor instantaneously calls into question the authenticity and legitimacy of the award.

Before the 2020 season started, Hudson was selected as the best center in the NFL for the fifth consecutive year and the sixth-best lineman in ESPN’s offensive line rankings, which were conducted in interviews with more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players.

Hudson has not allowed a sack since the final week of the 2017 season, and if you’re counting that’s 48 consecutive games.

“If you’ve been around him and watched him work, prepare, and how physical he is in person, he’s high on your list without a question,” one NFL assistant coach said at the time.

Pro Football Focus selected Hudson as the best pass-blocking center in the NFL for the fifth consecutive season, with an overall rating of over 90 percent.

Hudson played through injuries this season and held the Raiders patchwork offensive line together despite the team Silver and Black tackle Trent Brown, a 2019 Pro Bowl selection, and veteran guard Richie Incognito for most of the season.

Fill-ins Sam Young and Denzelle Good also were injured at times, but Hudson was the glue that helped keep things going as quarterback Derek Carr passed for a career-high 4,107 yards and second-year running back Josh Jacobs again rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

The 6-3, 315-pound Hudson has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times, including last year, but despite his reputation around the NFL, the best he has done when it comes to the All-Pro team was second-team last season.

“He is the best center that I’ve coached,” Raiders Coach Jon Gruden said.  “ … He’s a great player on the field, he’s one of our captains and true team leaders. He’s as tough a guy as we have. I’ve seen him play with kidney stones and various ailments. I’ll compliment him till day's end. He’s special.”

Hudson not only didn’t allow a sack again in 16 games this season, but he also committed only one penalty in 1,082 plays.

You might call him quarterback Carr’s personal bodyguard.

“The fact that Rodney Hudson wasn’t (voted to the Pro Bowl) blows my mind,” Carr said. “I could go on and on about some more guys that should have been in there, but sometimes, I’ll let you guys talk about those things and why that happens.

“But the guys that watch the film and the guys that are playing the game, we know. We know what’s up. Rodney, no disrespect to anyone else, Rodney is the best in the league. That was crazy to me.”

Hudson has only continued the legacy of great Raiders centers.

That started on the first day of the first year in franchise history in 1960 when the Oakland Raiders landed an unheralded, undersized 6-foot-2, 200-pound center out of Miami (Fla.) named Jim Otto.

Otto built himself up to 255 pounds, played in 210 consecutive games, was the only all-league center the American Football League had in its 10-year history, made the NFL’s All-Time Team, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

“Rodney Hudson has played very well I have to say, and deserves his due,” Otto, who attended every Raiders home game when they were still in Oakland until this season, said in an interview with Raider Maven before the 2020 season. “I haven’t watched any films of him as I did with some of our other centers, but I have spoken with him and know he’s worked hard.

“You can see that he has the ability and has played well enough over the last five years to receive those accolades, which means something. Like other Raiders centers, he’s made it to the top, as several of us did.”

When Otto retired after the 1974 season, Dave Dalby replaced him and didn’t miss a start for the next 14 seasons, and was the starter at the center when the Raiders won Super Bowls XI, XV, and XVIII.

The next great Raiders center was 6-foot-6, 305-pound Don Mosebar, who selected in the first round of the 1983 draft out of USC. He played 13 seasons, starting at guard for the first two before stepping into the middle when Dalby retired.

Mosebar was selected to the Pro Bowl three times before his career ended because of an eye injury he sustained during training camp in 1996.

When talking about the best centers in Raiders history, you have to mention 6-3, 320-pound Barret Robbins, although he is mostly remembered for alcohol and drug problems which cause him to go AWOL and miss Super Bowl XXXVII against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Robbins was selected first-team All-Pro and named to the AFC Pro Bowl team in 2002.

Despite this season’s snub, Hudson ranks with all of them.

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