Picking late in the draft is a special torture. After having two picks in the top 14 last year, and a top 4 pick the year before, picking 25th feels a little like being the last vulture to the carcass. And, if we want Seattle's success to continue, its a feeling we had better get used to.
Rodney Hudson's performance in the Senior Bowl puts him right in the Seahawks' wheelhouse in the late first round. If smallish NFL guards are not your cup of tea, look away. But if you want a day one starter, and likely a ten year starter at guard/center, read on.
Credentials: 4-time all-ACC pick, 3 years first team. Outland trophy finalist. The list of awards goes on. He can play either guard or center, and can be expected to add 10 or 15 pounds to his frame over the next few years.
On to his Senior Bowl play.
I logged 40 snaps. On 8 of those snaps, he ended up with no one to defend or on a designed double team. When he had no one to guard, he always found someone to chip, and his head was on a swivel, watching for a breakdown in the pocket that he may be needed to cleanup. Of the remaining 32 snaps, he won 30 individual matchups. I never saw him on the ground except when finishing a block. Not even once.
Worried about his size? Don't be. He is a technician of leverage. Not one time did I see a defender get lower than him to generate push. While it is true that he is not a mauler, his technique is nearly flawless. He moves his feet like a good low post player, always a step ahead of his opponents. He bends at the knees and sits better than a single current guard/center on the Seahawks currently does. Maybe Okung rivals him for technique, but even that would be debatable.
He very nearly does not make any mistakes. He surrendered 1.5 sacks and a couple of penalties over the last two seasons. He simply does not hold, and his good footwork keeps him from having to reach. In the Senior Bowl, he was beaten twice in 40 snaps, once on his first play of the game, and once near the conclusion when Cameron Jordan pushed him back and collapsed the pocket. Neither beat resulted in a tackle.
Hudson's stamina is excellent as well. As the game wore on in the 4th quarter, and running out the clock became a priority, he began drive blocking better than he had all game long. When the run game mattered, he was driving the point of attack and putting players on the ground.
All in all, Rodney Hudson would be a very solid pick for the Hawks, particularly if Spencer is not going to be inked to a new deal. Mock drafts have shown him from the late first to the late second, but if the Hawks want him, his Senior Bowl performance says that the late first round is about where he should go.