2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Khaleke Hudson
School: The University of Michigan
Weight: 225 pounds
Hudson looks rather comfortable in two depths of coverage. With the flare/flat patterns, he will funnel out to meet the back. Without missing a beat, Hudson uses his eyes and feel for the passing game to guide his direction. At the next level, subpackage work could see him used in this role. The Wolverines used Hudson as the Viper, a hybrid safety/linebacker.
With Hudson, tackling starts with grip strength. Depending on the play, Hudson will sink his hips,but watch his hands. The power to hold on and follow through with a constricting wrap helps make the play. While not a “blow-up” hitter, Hudson’s active hands with attempt to sjake the ball loose. Ballcarriers will wrap both hands around the ball, slowing their progress and meeting the group. In space, Hudson sinks and finishes alone.
Of all of Hudson’s traits, this one requires a layered observation. Occasionally, Michigan deployed him an edge rusher, pressuring the quarterback, in an eye blink. Hudson screams downhill, with a clipped stride and no false steps. As a blitzer, he jumps the snap, gaining the outside shoulder on blockers. Next, when shooting gaps in the run game, Hudson’s burst, in concert with his frame, allows him to beat the initial punch. Lastly, while pursuing backside, Hudson takes sharp angles to cut off backs.
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Processing evolved over Hudson’s career in Ann Arbor. Hudson still attacks the ball with ferocity. Yet, he dialed down the overaggressive nature. Instead of barreling by the play, out of position and reckless, he breakdown and uses his brain, not just his body. On top of that, play recognition, especially misdirection continues to develop.
When you look st the Raiders on defense, the gaping hole at linebacker exists. Yet, a player like Hudson, who would fit as a middle round pick makes sense. First, he does not fit into any specific category or label. As a result, his toolbox lends itself to operating in a multi-faceted role. The Raiders lack talent and depth in the linebackers’room and secondary. Hudson shows the ability to cover, blitz, and provide run support.
In all honesty, the potential drafting of Hudson would signal a change in the defensive process for the Raiders, For all of the aggressive and innovative tendencies Jon Gruden shows on offense, Paul Guenther remains stale on defense. That is to say, the scheme looks stale, stagnant and completely unimaginative. Inserting Hudson into a role would open door. One down could see him rush from the edge, the next would see him meet the back in the flat. People become enamored with solely focusing on first round picks. Teams build with depth and versatility. Hudson offers the Raiders both, at a reasonable middle draft pick. Forget his size. Players like Mark Barron, Deone Bucannon, converted safeties, excelled at linebacker. Hudson fits that mold. The Raiders need impact defenders.