The margin between winning and losing in the NFL in most weeks is slim. The difference can often come when players matchup in the trenches. These players, especially offensive linemen, do not get near enough credit.
That goes for Rodney Hudson as well. The Raider/ex Chief has been steady throughout his career, despite not being a part of many winning teams. Meanwhile, Chris Jones has become one of the top interior defensive linemen just a few years into his career. Due to his instant production, a new contract extension could be on the way. The battle between these two up front will be more than a difficult one to win consistently.
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Chris Jones has self proclaimed the Chiefs defensive front “Sack Nation” entering this season. While Kansas City was tied for the league lead in sacks last season, we know there is many changes to this unit. Being able to still create more pressure will be key for a unit that seems to be weaker on the back end. Jones 24 sacks since entering the league in 2016, are the third best in the NFL during that span. Even having 16 career pass deflections at the line of scrimmage has been big for the Chiefs in big games. Jones looks to be in incredible shape entering this season, as well. Jones size and speed combination has also improved his run defense.
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For Hudson, to say his career has been steady would be an understatement. He has firmly been one of the top interior offensive linemen across the NFL since becoming a starter in 2013 with Kansas City. According to Pro Football Focus, he is one of only five offensive linemen in PFF’s era to earn an 80.0 plus grade in pass blocking for eight consecutive seasons. Also since coming to Oakland in 2015, PFF has graded him right around the 90.0 mark. The bottom line, Hudson has been the best pass blocking center in the league. This Jones versus Hudson matchup will still likely be underrated. But, an early Week 2 matchup with Jones will be a big chance for Hudson to pay dividends in spoiling a game against the Chiefs early.
Taking Things Slow
The Raiders feel they are starting to create a better foundation for their organization. Hudson understands though, that they can’t rush the process.
“We’re taking it one day at a time. You can’t look too far ahead. Stay in the moment, because looking that far down the road is too long. We’re bringing everyone along slowly. We are all focusing and working hard everyday.”
When Hudson and the Raiders matchup with Jones and the Chiefs, they will be ready to prove the doubters wrong. The process the Raiders are hoping to build can all begin up front with a player and leader like Hudson.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.