For the majority of their existence, the Oakland Raiders continued to enjoy elite level play from the unlikeliest positions. To the casual fan, all centers accomplish is snapping the ball and blocking. Yet, looking deeper, you will find a player that makes line adjustments and adjusts in case of a blitz. During their run as a franchise, a few of these players stand out
When Oakland drafted the former Miami Hurrance in the second round of the 1960 AFL Draft, they knew something. For example, Otto possessed good size and strength, but his toughness allowed the offense to meet opponents with brutality. For Otto, each play meant something. During fifteen seasons with the Raiders, Otto carved out an award-winning career, spanning two different leagues. Few players exemplified the tenacious will to succeed more than Otto.
“He was one of those guys who never wanted to come out of practice. That’s the opposite of most starters, who will say, ‘Send in the second guy.’” Jim was the Oakland Raiders center, and he was not going to give up his spot” John Madden
Smaller than most players, Dalby operated with a technically sound efficiency. Unlike most on this list, Dalby only made one Pro Bowl. However, he is the only member on this list with multiple Super Bowls. In fact, he boasts three rings. For fourteen years, Dalby took the mantle from Otto and guided Oakland. Sadly, Dalby passed away in 2002.Despite this, Dalby’s character shone through to fans and players alike.
“I don’t think you realize that there are thousands and thousands of people that would be touched with your life, as well as be completely saddened with your death….Have you ever had an urge to help people…you have an incredible chance to help not just one or two but thousands.”
Mosebar served as the bridge to the modern era. While he served as Dave Dalby’s backup during the Super Bowl, Mosebar evolved into the leader of the Raiders offensive. On top of that, his 6’6” frame meant that his approach differed from his predecessors. As a result, Mosebar used power to move defenders away. If not for a career-ending eye injury, Mosebar could have been higher on this list.
“I don’t see myself as a revolutionary, but I guess I was one of the first guys my size to play the position in the league,” Mosebar said. “I remember when I first moved to the position, we were playing Kansas City and their center came up to me and said, ‘You beat me! Now I’m not the tallest center in the league anymore.’ And, he was only about 6-3 or 6-4.”
In essence, Rodney Hudson serves as the latest great on this list. With the second half of his career beginning, plenty of time exists for Hudson to write his own Raiders destiny. Despite being a free agent after the upcoming season, look for the Raiders to retain him.