The Las Vegas Raiders made a shocking move when they traded away Rodney Hudson, and finally, his replacement is starting to reward their confidence in him.
Going into this offseason, there were plenty of question marks when it came to this Las Vegas Raiders roster. They had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2020, still needed help at wide receiver, and had to find the right mix of players to help them get over the second-half slumps from the previous two seasons.
However, one area that was not a question was the offensive line, where the Raiders were to return their entire starting five from the previous year, giving them some stability upfront. That was before Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock decided to revamp the entire unit, trading away Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown, and of course, Rodney Hudson.
While Jackson and Brown had been rumored to be on their way out, Hudson was not, as he is the elite center in all of football. When he was traded to Arizona, the team was quick to hand a new contract to his replacement, Andre James, and throughout the beginning of the 2021 season, that had looked like a big mistake.
However, since being thrust into the starting lineup, James has shaken off some early-season struggles and has played some elite football over the past few games.
Not only is James playing at a high level, but he has brought stability to the offensive line at a time when the Silver and Black has desperately needed it.
Raiders getting great play since revamping the offensive line
This is a group that struggled from the outset, as rookie Alex Leatherwood was not ready to take over as a starting right tackle, and was moved inside. That cleared the way for Brandon Parker to become a starter, and since then, the team has gotten better play across the board.
Even second-year starting offensive guard John Simpson has stepped up his game, and no longer is the offensive line a unit that you look at and cringe.
The Las Vegas Raiders take on the Kansas City Chiefs in primetime in Week 10, and here are four reasons they will win the AFC West battle.
If the Raiders are to do anything of substance this season, they need strong play from their offensive line, and the man in the middle is always the key. What has originally looked like a big mistake has turned into a bright spot for Las Vegas, and being so young, you have to believe that James is only scratching the surface of what he could be for this franchise down the line.