Oakland Raiders: Five More Free Agent Targets McKenzie Should Pursue

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November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs center Rodney Hudson (61) blocks Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson (99) during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

4. Rodney Hudson

While I think the Raiders might consider drafting a potential replacement for Stefen Wisniewski, there is an option to upgrade the position through free agency, all while poaching a key player from a division rival: Chiefs center Rodney Hudson. Hudson, a 2011 2nd round pick by the Chiefs, fits the profile of a center who can run Bill Musgrave’s promised no-huddle system: he’s a bit on the smaller side, but more athletic and quick with his feet and can handle the fast pace of a Chip Kelly-inspired offense.

Hudson is the best center on the market this year, and would be an improvement over Stefen Wisniewski in most observers’ eyes. Hudson was ranked the third-best center in the league by Pro Football Focus last season, with a +13.0 grade. As the best center on the market, he will garner a significant payday, with reports out that he’s seeking to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $7M per season, a number the Chiefs likely cannot afford, but the Raiders definitely can.

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Ryan Kelly would be a fantastic center for the Arizona Cardinals
Ryan Kelly would be a fantastic center for the Arizona Cardinals /

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  • When you find a franchise quarterback, you try to put franchise people around him at key positions. Left tackle is one, and Donald Penn looks to be a quality starter there for at least the next few years. Wide receiver is another, and this will be addressed. But one that gets overlooked is the ONLY player on the team who touches the ball as much or more than the quarterback: the center. It is the center who communicates with the QB on protection shifts, and who calls out adjustments to run blocking schemes. The center is crucial to running any sort of no huddle or speed offense, as he is the one who the offensive formation is built around.

    The Raiders have a chance to add a franchise center if they can get Rodney Hudson. Stealing him away from the hated Chiefs is a nice bonus. And with Hudson being only 26 when the season starts, he can solidify the position for many years to come, allowing the Raiders to forego using a pick on a center in the first four rounds and focus on other needs.

    Next: Target #5: Jason Pierre-Paul