Monday, 9 November 2009

Draft chat: Chris Steuber on Hudson

As you may have seen, I had Rodney Hudson (G, Florida State) going to the Seahawks in my first 2010 mock draft of the year. Few prospects have impressed me as much as the Seminoles' lineman during the 2009 season and I think it's a little surprising he hasn't received more attention. I wanted to get a second opinion, so I contacted Chris Steuber from recently to get his thoughts:

"Hudson is a very athletic guard and if he were to declare for the draft, he would be a late first, early second round draft pick."
- Chris Steuber

That at least confirmed my suspicions about where he could potentially go in the draft. When I scouted him earlier in the year, I felt like I was watching the perfect interior lineman for the Seahawks. During Tim Ruskell's tenure as GM, the team have drafted and signed more agile blockers who can operate in the zone blocking scheme. Some teams might be put off by Hudson's lack of size (290lbs) but the Seahawks would love his agility.

"Hudson is undersized, but possesses tremendous feet. He moves very well laterally and has the quickness to make an impact at the second level. At this time, he’s a better pass protector than he is a run blocker, but he’s improved his strength and will only get better."
- Chris Steuber

One of the things that really impressed me was Hudson's strength. Considering he isn't the biggest, I saw him driving guys back 4-5 yards to create running lanes. When Florida State ran a quarterback sneak, Christian Ponder placed himself behind Hudson and used him to get the first down. That same strength won't necessarily translate into the same kind of dominance in the NFL, but he certainly plays above his size.

But Steuber mentioned something I hadn't considered. Remember Branden Albert? A dominant, athletic guard for Virginia who ended up being projected as a left tackle in the NFL - leading to being selected 15th overall by Kansas City in 2008. Can Hudson make a similar transition?

"Hudson’s athleticism provides an NFL team with options; he could play OT if needed, but obviously his best position is at guard. If he were a little taller, he would be an OT prospect."- Chris Steuber

In fairness, there's a notable difference between Albert and Hudson. The former is 6'5" - owning the ideal frame to add bulk and adjust to play at left tackle. With Hudson only 6'2" and currently 290lbs, he hasn't got the same height advantage and he'd have to add around 15-20lbs to get anywhere near the weight Albert was at the '08 combine (309lbs). Still, I think it emphasises the kind of athleticism Hudson owns and that in part is testament to his value.

Obviously any discussion about Hudson has to accept that he's a junior and won't necessarily declare. Still, pretty much every mock I read has Bryan Bulaga (another junior lineman) pencilled in, so until I hear otherwise I see no reason to discount Hudson from the 2010 talk. If he does declare, he could be worth monitoring from a Seahawks perspective.


1stHill said...

I’m on the Rodney Hudson bandwagon! I have watched him play twice after reading the first article you wrote about Hudson, and I have been thoroughly impressed. I have watched a few other or the top OG and none come close to Hudson’s athleticism. He looks smooth and nimble when pulling and he always finds a LB or DB to block when getting to the second level. A few of the other top OG I have seen are Thomas Austin (Clemson), Stephen Shilling (Michigan), Mike Pouncy (Florida), and Sergio Render (Virginia Tech) and all of them take a back seat to Hudson. I’m sure the Seahawks will have Hudson higher on their draft board than a power running team will have on their draft board. I’m all for drafting Hudson with our later 1st round pick.

Rob Staton said...

Thanks for the heads up on the other guys, 1st Hill. I'll check them out.

I cannot stress enough how much Rodney Hudson has impressed me. I watched one play from the weekend from the Seminoles game.... the QB drops back and the pocket is pushed back 5-6 yards. Every OL and DL drops back in front of the QB. As they drop back, Rodney Hudson drives his man forwards and ends up standing in the open field 7-8 yards further up the field than anyone else, having absolutely dominated his guy. It just showed up the different class he's in compared to everyone else on that FSU line.

First round pick.

1stHill said...

I wouldn’t recommend scouting Thomas Austin or Sergio Render. Both are not a good fit for the zone blocking scheme and might only be projected as late round players for power running teams. Stephen Shilling (Michigan) was a highly recruited OT from the Seattle area and is now a OG. Shilling is only a junior and I doubt he would declare for the draft.

I would recommend scouting OG Mike Pouncy (Florida) and his twin brother OC Maurkice Pouncy (Florida). The Pouncy twins are juniors and I think it highly probable (if given a high grade by scouts) that they will declare for the draft. With this being Tim Tebow’s last year the Pouncy twins may not want to return for their senior season playing with a new unproven QB.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I think it is highly likely Hudson will declare for the draft. With all the hoopla around Bobby Bowdin possibly being forced into retirement, and the Seminoles not really competitive even in the ACC, I'm convinced he will run to the NFL. My concern, however is Ruskell's preference for senior's. As for draft value, I agree that most other teams may not value Hudson as highly as Knapp, and therefore he may well slip to the early second round. I'd feel a lot better about getting him with our 2nd round pick like we did Unger. I could see a future O-line that went left to right, Locklear, Hudson, Unger, Sims, Frye. That's right, Brandon Frye at right tackle over Willis. I think he was a great pick up from the Fins and while not left tackle ready, could do well in ZBS at right tackle. Or, we could use a 1st round pick on Charles Brown and move Locklear back to the right. In any case, I agree that Hudson could be a key component to a competent, if not dominant, O-line.