Changing of the guards, thinking about Rodney Hudson in the draft

Oh mock drafts, can you not just tell me now who the St. Louis Rams will pick in the 2011 NFL Draft? Maybe they could, but let's face it, that would give us absolutely nothing to talk about through winter's dreariness, except for the especially bleak CBA negotiations, or lack thereof. 

Of sure, Cam Newton had his media day workout today, but that's not really of much concern to the Rams. (All the Newtonium you can handle over here, where six NFL teams reportedly have him atop their draft boards. Why do I get the feeling we'll be seeing him in the NFC West next year?)

There's a new mock draft out today from Walter Football (the site that had the Rams taking Sam Bradford last year before even Adam Schefter famously predicted it) and it has a new name to start talking about: Florida State G Rodney Hudson

Taking Hudson and the need for a guard after the jump.

You don't need me to remind you just how badly the Rams need a guard. We lived through the same games together, we saw the need. Quite honestly, I think Adam Goldberg has more value as a backup OT where he can perform well in pass blocking should one of the Rams starters be lost for a game or two. Back to Hudson. 

His stock took a big jump in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, where he worked both guard spots. Hudson isn't in the same class as Danny Watkins or Mike Pouncey. One of the main concerns about Hudson is that he's only 290 pounds, a weight that might work for some centers but seems a little iffy for a guard. Remember when the Rams' Jacob Bell played a season at less than 300 lbs and got man handled and injured... 

But Hudson's 290 lbs ain't the same your momma's 290 lbs, in the eyes of one prospect watcher. Here's how Doug Farrar described Hudson's ability in the context of his weight:

But Hudson plays with an impact about 30 pounds heavier than his listed weight, because he lines up very low in his stance and absolutely explodes into the defender's pads. Major nasty streak off the snap; he's very happy to bull defenders back, and he did it often enough at the Senior Bowl to eradicate any questions about his ability to be physical at the next level.

That's an endorsement to be sure, and most pundits have Hudson as a second rounder. I don't know, though. I'm leery. NFL defensive tackles are a whole different breed, and after watching guard play last year and Jacob Bell playing with a lighter weight, I wonder about Hudson. He might be best for a zone blocking team, or, as Farrar suggests, converting to a center. But that's no easy task either.  

Watkins would probably be my pick, but he could go in the first round...or later in the second if teams worry about his age since he'll be 27 when the season starts, if the season starts. 

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