Oakland Raiders: 5 best players entering 2017 NFL season

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Derek Carr
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Derek Carr /
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2. player. 28. . Center. Florida State Seminoles. Rodney Hudson

Clearly, general manager Reggie McKenzie made it a priority for the Raiders to become elite along the offensive line in their rebuild. It is working out magnificently. While right guard Gabe Jackson is the most notable lineman that has come to the Raiders in the NFL Draft, most of McKenzie’s success has been finding undervalued guys in free agency. Center Rodney Hudson marveled in his second year with the Raiders last year.

Hudson was originally a second-round pick by the arch rival Kansas City Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft. He had been a two-time All-American at Florida State prior to that. In 2016, Hudson garnered an 89.1 grade from PFF. That was the best mark given to any member of the Oakland offense.

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Not only was Hudson stout in run blocking, fourth in the league at 87.4, only Minnesota Vikings center Joe Berger was better in terms of pass protection. It was the rest of the offensive line that was terrible for the Vikings.

Hudson received an 89.4 grade in pass pro a year ago. Being top-four in both key offensive line categories led to Hudson having his breakout year in 2016. He even made it to his first Pro Bowl as a professional.

Overall, it’s not hard to see that the members of the Raiders offensive line play off each other’s strengths. Though the players are certainly solid, the whole offensive line is greater than the sum of its parts.

In a way, the center position is the fulcrum on which the entire offensive line is built around. It increases Hudson’s overall value and the Raiders’ front-five looks entirely different without him. The Raiders will look to continue to win in the trenches. With that offensive interior of Hudson at center, Jackson at right guard and Kelechi Osemele at left guard, who is getting through that trio in the pass rush?