Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State) vs UNC

August 9th, 2010 | Written by Rob Staton

Can Rodney Hudson put himself into first round contention?

by Rob Staton
This is one to watch for Seahawks fans in 2010. The focal point of Florida State’s offensive line, Hudson is the prototype interior lineman for Alex Gibbs’ zone blocking scheme. He’s had starting experience as a center, tackle and guard but would project best as a left guard partner for Russell Okung in Seattle. He’s a first team All-American (2009) and two-time All-ACC lineman (2008, 2009). NFL Draft Scout’s Chris Steuber told me before the 2010 draft that Hudson could’ve been a first round pick this year, but he opted to complete his senior campaign with the Seminoles. Mel Kiper recently paired the Seahawks with Hudson in his ‘Next April’s pick now’ segment. In 2010, the 21-year-old will be charged with protecting quarterback Christian Ponder – himself a potential candidate to be a first round pick next year.

Name: Rodney Hudson #62
DOB: 07/12/89
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 285lbs
Position: Offensive Guard
Year: Senior

The Opposition: North Carolina’s defense is one of the highest rated going into the 2010 season and it was already performing at a high level last year. Hudson had to deal with massive interior presence Marvin Austin and potential top-10 pick DE Robert Quinn off the edge. Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant are two of the better linebackers in college football. Deunta Williams is the other big name on the UNC defense – he’s a ball hawking safety but slightly over rated because he benefits more from his teammates than they do from his influence. Aside from power-houses like Florida and Alabama, this was as tough as it comes for Hudson and the Seminoles.

Athletic ability: Hudson is light at 285lbs and allows him to use above average athletic qualities for an interior lineman. Bends knees well enough to initiate leverage and won a lot of individual battles. Short and long range quickness is very good, allowing him to explode off the line in short yardage situations and equally pull and run. His mobility to get to the second level is excellent and he did a good job in this game locating a secondary block and executing. Florida State used a lot of screen passes, with Hudson pulling from the line and used as the lead blocker. Has excellent footwork, again in no part down to his compact size.

Run blocking: Has surprising strength at the point of attack for a smaller lineman. Actually does as good a job as someone twenty-pounds heavier. The vast majority of run plays were called to the left, with Hudson often capable of creating some pretty big holes. On a QB sneak in the third quarter, Christian Ponder tucked in behind Hudson to get a key first down. Second level blocking is excellent and athletic qualities were clearly evident when he pulled wide. A willing cut-blocker but technique could use refining.

Pass blocking: In the third quarter he was able to block off and support the left tackle (who’d been beaten by a defensive end on the edge). Hudson recognised the situation and before the DE could get to Ponder, he levelled him almost sending him to the turf. Understands when he needs to switch blockers and often did a great job in pass protection helping the left tackle. Initial power at the point of attack allows him to punch back and then switch. Mobility and footwork could actually be good enough for Hudson to play tackle but size negates likelihood of that happening.

Intelligence: Pure football smarts and understands his role completely. Hudson has some experience at center and in this game flashed his ability to diagnose defensive reads. Reports confirm Hudson’s intelligence and he should have less trouble than most picking up the zone blocking scheme if drafted by the Seahawks. Blitz pick-up was excellent.

Motor: Showed a nasty nature and appears to enjoy blocking. Played with a high-tempo throughout the game and never relented. Willingness to get to the next level again and again shows that he doesn’t settle and rarely has a play off.

Physical attributes: Teams using a man-blocking scheme will be concerned with Hudson’s lack of size. He’s not tall, so the 285lbs frame hasn’t got that much room to grow. If he added the 15lbs minimum that some teams would like to see, that might jeopardise his quickness and mobility. Hudson is, however, a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme which would make good use of his ability to diagnose situations quickly, speed, footwork and surprising power.

Summary: Offensive lineman can be over rated sometimes. The premium nature of the tackle position has, undoubtedly, led to some examples of over-drafting in recent years. Such is the demand for blind side blockers. Interior lineman also get over rated because in reality so few go in round one and people are always looking for the next Steve Hutchinson. The 2009 draft was the exception, with an undoubted top-20 talent like Alex Mack available and Eric Wood also going in the first round. Duke Robinson (over rated by many leading up to the 09′ draft) dropped to a more realistic 5th round grade. Hudson, for me, warrants any hype thrown his way. Whilst some teams will not consider drafting him due to a lack of size, teams using zone blocking elements will watch Hudson’s 2010 campaign with interest. He has the potential to go in round one and as we prepare for the new college season and he deserves a first/second round grade at this early stage.

Highlights of Hudson vs North Carolina

13 Responses to “Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State) vs UNC”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aaron Aloysius, Rob Staton. Rob Staton said: Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State #FSU) scouting report – one to watch for #Seahawks fans in 2010… http://seahawksdraftblog.com/?p=75 [...]

  2. CFraychineaud says:

    I generally like what I hear about Hudson, but from the video at the bottom of him playing what will generally be considered close to an NFL caliber defense of UNC (how many of them are probably going early in the draft? good chunk of the line and linebackers.) he seemed to fall down alot, like he was trying to chop block someone and missed and fell early. He looked hungry to make a block on the 2nd and 3rd levels which I like to see but yet again fell down on his face more often than I’d like to see from an undersized zone blocking type lineman who’s supposed to be more agile than the mauler types. I did like how he often was able to make an edge for the runner by turning the defended away from the run. I also liked his ability to stonewall the defender and even push him over and land on him, keeping him down and out of the play. My question for Rob or Kip to look into though is why he seems to fall down so much, without always connecting if it is infact because of attempted chop/cut blocks. Also do you think he’ll be able to correct it? If you’ve watched other video of him, does it still happen as often as it seems to from this small clip against lesser defenses? Thanks for the work.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve watched the highlights and it’s a fair point actually – you notice in that segment that he falls down a few times and I certainly didn’t pick that up watching the game in full. I think it’s actually just a condensed four minutes where it happens to be shown a few times and paints a picture that isn’t actually there. However, it may just be full commitment to each play and over extending. On the other hand, maybe he does have an issue with balance that needs to be looked into in 2010 or a greater issue than first thought when attempting a cut block. An interesting point to be raised nonetheless.

      I foolishly deleted FSU vs WVA from last year so won’t be able to scout a full game until 2010 kicks off, but I’ll bare this in mind for the future.

      • CFraychineaud says:

        Thanks for looking into that for me Rob. I’m very interested in shoring up the O-Line for the long haul, as I also believe stability and quality play there helps both sides of the game out in the long run. I worry that while he looks great and as a play deserves a 1st or 2nd round grade, that because very few teams run a full out zone scheme, that he won’t be taken that high by a team that does run the zone unless they have no other needs. As in any draft, if your the only team that needs a X, you might as well take the best player at another position that other teams are going to need and be getting, because X will probably still be there the next time your up. Sort of like what happened with clausen this year, some teams who needed a quaterback passed on him in the first round, maybe looking for him in the 2nd.

        If we pick in the top 15, I hope we look QB or BPA… Until the Rookie pay scale gets fixed, I truely believe that the top 15 picks should generally be the big 4 paid positions QB, LT, DE, CB… if we pick in the 16-32 range, I’m all for us using a pick to get a guard like this. I’m guessing we will be the former currently as we need a few more drafts to get the quality and depth to really compete on equal footing each year, and hope he will be available in round 2 with our top 15 pick…

        • Rob says:

          If the Seahawks are picking in the top 15 again, I think it’s obvious they won’t be targetting a guard in round one however good. I think Hudson – and again this is reliant on health/performance in 2010 – deserves a late first, early second round grade today. That can change though.

  3. Guilherme says:

    Rob, three questions for you: analyzing the other zone-blocking teams, and imagining Seattle’s picking at 12 (like in your Mock), do you see someone taking Hudson at Top 10, or even trading up to pick him ahead of the Seahawks? Do you think Schneider and Carroll would target him, passing on all those talented WRs? And, last one, do you think he would add some weight before the Combine, trying to go up draft boards, like Charles Brown from USC? Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Hi Guilherme,

      Obviously we’ll need to see what happens in the 2010 college season, but I think it’s pretty safe to say there’s no chance Hudson will go in the top 10-15 picks. Whilst he is the perfect fit for Seattle’s ZBS, for a guard to go that early he has to own off the charts size and speed like Mike Iupati. The Seahawks have a lot of needs as the team is rebuilt, so if they are picking in the top 10-15 again I suspect they won’t be taking a guard at that position. However, there’s always a chance they can move down or up from R2 and we still have to wait and see how Hudson performs this year before we get a greater grasp of his stock.

      As for whether he adds weight, we’ll have to see. He hasn’t got the frame to add too much and might lose some of his mobility in trying to get bigger. If he performs as I expect and stays healthy on the current stat line (285-290lbs) then I think he has a chance to go high for his positions – late first or early second. However, such is most teams desire to draft big at the position, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see Hudson as a mid-round steal either. He’s a prospect worth keeping an eye on.

  4. scottemojo says:

    Rob, what about Gibbs pronounced tendency to select his guards much later in the draft. I will admit, Okungs selection was a huge departure from that, but if I am not mistaken, a Gibbs led Oline has not selected a guard before pick 120 in like 15 years or more. Would that affect the Seahawks/Hudson?

    • Rob says:

      I think it just depends on the quality of the prospect and draft position relating to value. Hudson, for me, is the very definition of what represents a young guy capable of playing in the Gibbs ZBS. He’ll pick the scheme up quicker than most and he’s got the potential to thrive in it. Gibbs has shown a remarkable ability to ‘train up’ guys in later rounds as you say. They may not want to choose Hudson or a guard that early. We’ll have to see how the 2010 college seaso plays out and how Seattle’s line performs. However, I wouldn’t rule out drafting Hudson purely on what has happened in the past.

  5. david says:

    what about unger?

    • Rob says:

      In fairness, this regime didn’t draft Max Unger. We’ll have to see if they view him as part of the long term make up of Alex Gibbs’ offensive line. I don’t think he has a future at left guard which is the position Hudson would play, so it’s quite possible that the Seahawks could use both on their line one day.

  6. dennamin says:

    Rob: My guess is that other premium needs such as defensive line and QB, for example will tend to dominate R1 for the Seahawks. I would love to see Rodney Hudson in R2 for us. I remember seeing Hutchinson lean to the left to say something to Walter Jones before the play, many times during games. I think Hutch’s value was more than his sheer power and toughness, although that alone made the entire offensive team better. Gibbs emphacized intelligence as a key factor in his OL starting in importance with the center then guard and lastly out to the OT. I hope Hudson has that intelligence factor going for him. I am thinking R2 because we already spent the third round pick in the Whitehurst trade, I believe. Later, I don’t know. What teams are the logical competitors for ZB type of guards like Hudson?

    • Rob says:

      I think Hudson in R1 really would be dependant on the Seahawks having a surprisingly good year, answering a lot of questions on the roster and picking later on. That seems ambitious at best and completely unrealistic at worst.

      To that extent though, if the Seahawks are picking early again, they’ll have the chance to take Hudson (potentially) at the top of R2 or move back into the first. Of course, all this is dependant on the prospect himself living up to expectations and whilst I would grade Hudson as a late first/early second round pick now, a lot can change over the course of one full season.

      The competition in terms of pure ZBS teams isn’t deep. Washington could show interest and need interior line upgrades just as much as Seattle. Likewise, I feel that Houston could improve in that area. Other teams will show interest but might be put off by Hudson’s lack of size. However, he’s talented enough for some teams (in my opinion) to feel that they can compensate slightly by using him at 300lbs instead of 290lbs and relying on his talent to make up for it.

      Having said that, he remains an almost perfect fit to play on Seattle’s line and truly warrants the high praise as we prepare for the 2010 college season.