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Cardinals’ Rodney Hudson ranked as best center in the NFL by PFF

Offensive linemen Brian Winters (left) and Rodney Hudson (right) go through warmups during Day 3 of Cardinals minicamp Thursday, June 10 2021, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

One of the best under-the-radar transactions the Arizona Cardinals made this offseason was trading with the Las Vegas Raiders for center Rodney Hudson.

Hudson, 31, is a three-time Pro Bowler (2016-17, 2019) who was Second Team All-Pro in 2019.

Despite his high production levels, the Raiders were prepared to cut Hudson, which opened an opportunity for Arizona to swoop in and trade a third-round pick for him.

Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey ranked all 32 projected starting centers in the NFL, leading into training camp, and named Hudson as the league’s best.

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.

He posted a 73.6 grade on Pro Football Focus last season, well above the website’s rating for Cole (54.4) and Lamont Gaillard (48.1), who both filled the role for the Cardinals in 2020.

Hudson is ranked head-and-shoulders as the top center in the NFC West.

Alex Mack of the San Francisco 49ers is ranked No. 13 on the list followed by the Rams’ Austin Corbett (19) and the Seahawks’ Ethan Pocic (21).

Hudson and No. 2 ranked Corey Linsley both changed teams this offseason with Linsley joining the Chargers after spending seven seasons with the Packers.

While centers do not typically demand high salaries compared to other offensive line positions, they do play an important role as the front-end battery with the quarterback and calling out signals for the rest of their teammates.


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