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 Scout.com 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.