Cardinals’ Rodney Hudson comes in at No. 1 in PFF’s center rankings

May 28, 2021, 11:08 AM | Updated: 11:15 am
Rodney Hudson #61 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the preseason game against the Minnesota V...
Rodney Hudson #61 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 22, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 20-12. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

You don’t have to look very hard to see where Rodney Hudson rates in Pro Football Focus’ book of starting NFL centers.

The Arizona Cardinals’ offseason addition was the top dog in PFF’s centers ranking released Monday.

No NFL center has come close to touching Hudson’s level of pass-protecting prowess over the past decade. If you line up the highest pass-blocking grades for all qualifying center seasons since 2015, Hudson owns each of the top five spots for his work from 2015 to 2019. He took a step back in that department last season, but he still ended the year as the league’s seventh-highest-graded center. Hudson projects as a significant upgrade over Mason Cole in Arizona.

Despite the dip in pass blocking, Hudson was the eighth highest center graded out by PFF last season (70).

It’s not only his production that contributed to the Cardinals going after Hudson in the trade market. It’s what he can do for third-year quarterback Kyler Murray.

“I think it’s very important that the quarterback and center see things the same way,” Hudson told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo in March. “Whatever it might be: blitzes, adjustments or whatnot — that’ll be important to our success.

“I think one of the biggest teachers is experience. It’s my opinion that the more you play, the more you learn,” he added of himself. “I can say for myself that I’m still learning. I think you’re always learning as you go, you always see something new and it always teaches you something.”

The center joined the Cardinals this offseason after Arizona sent a 2021 third-round draft pick to the Las Vegas Raiders in return for Hudson and a 2021 seventh-rounder.

The Cardinals’ seventh-round selection from the trade was coincidentally used on anther center in Penn State’s Michal Menet, who hopes to learn a thing or two from the three-time Pro Bowler.

As for the rest of the NFC West, the San Francisco 49ers’ Alex Mack is next on the list at No. 13. He’s followed by the Los Angeles Rams’ Austin Corbett at No. 19 and the Seattle Seahawks’ Ethan Pocic at No. 21.

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