It may seem rather strange to think a player who the Raiders made the highest paid at his position could actually turn out to have more to offer than the team had hoped, but according to Raiders new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave that is exactly the case with new center Rodney Hudson.
"Rodney's done a terrific job. He's been more than we anticipated," Musgrave said. "He has better movement than we expected from out film study. Seeing him from the other sideline over the years. But he's done a nice job of pulling when he needs to. Our guards and tackles pull a bunch in our system but the center needs to at times and he's definitely able to do that."
What the Raiders knew about Hudson was he was one of the smartest young centers in the game. That he can block his position and has improved in every area each of his four seasons in the NFL. To discover he can move as well is an exciting bonus for Musgrave who intends on running a fast paced, run based offense.
Coming to the Raiders from the Chiefs means starting over with a new playbook and an entire new coaching staff. That's not a new concept for Hudson, who progressed through a coaching change in Kansas City two years ago and ended having his best years following the coaching change.
"I've been in a few systems in my career, maybe three or four, so I'm used to learning something new," said Hudson. "It's going good, it's going good, but I take every day as a learning experience. You learn something new every day. I think all of the guys are, we're just taking it in stride and try to get better every day and continue to learn together."
The offensive line has been gelling this offseason, the left side in particular, with veteran Donald Penn and second year guard Gabe Jackson in place. Penn too has raved about Hudson's athleticism.
"He is a great athlete," Penn said of Hudson. "He is going to be big for us in that middle. He is putting us in the right spot. He is great in space. When he gets out there in space, he is great. He is very athletic. He is a big part of this offensive line. I am happy to have him. He has been a very underrated player."
Saying Hudson is underrated is not just a sentiment held by his teammates and coaches. He was recently named as one of the most underrated players in the league by NFL.com.
That feeling was before Hudson had surprised his team with his athleticism. I have said before that the Pro Bowl is a strong possibility for Hudson if he plays as well as he did last season. That belief only continues to grow stronger.