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Hudson ready for starting role

Posted Mar 1, 2012

After spending his rookie season as a reserve, Rodney Hudson looks likely to find a starting role on the Chiefs offensive line next season.

One year and ready.

Jon Asamoah followed the blueprint learning under Brian Waters as a rookie in 2010. A year after working in a reserve role, Asamoah opened all 16 games at right guard for the Chiefs last season.

The current makeup of the Chiefs offensive line is in transition, but Asamoah is part of the team’s core moving forward. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli expects to see second-year pro Rodney Hudson follow a similar path.

“I think he’s ready to be a starter at center or guard,” Pioli said of Hudson at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s a good young player who had some time last year. One of the interesting things about Rodney that showed itself last year was his maturity and his ability to prepare.”

Hudson was selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft as the heir apparent to ironman center Casey Wiegmann, who despite turning 38 last summer hasn’t missed a snap in over a decade. Wiegmann ended last season having played 11,162 consecutive snaps dating back to a game vs. the New York Giants on September 23, 2001.

Much like Asamoah used his time to study under Waters in 2010, Hudson spent his rookie season absorbing all he could while lockering next to Wiegmann.

Though Wiegmann has yet to officially announce his retirement, his emotional state following the Chiefs Week 17 victory in Denver pointed to the close of a stellar 16-year NFL career. Wiegmann’s comments leading up to the Chiefs regular season finale also point toward retirement. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent on March 13th.

“Casey of course hasn’t missed a snap in 100 years, but Rodney is ready to play either (guard or center).” Pioli said. “He’s ready to play in the NFL. He’s a smart kid who really has a level of maturity that’s rare.”

With Wiegmann’s consecutive snaps streak continuing through the 2011 season, Hudson saw all of his playing time at guard. Hudson drew his first NFL starting assignment at left guard when Ryan Lilja missed the Pittsburgh game with a head injury. He also appeared in five other games on offense.

Though Hudson didn’t see any snaps at center last season, it’s the position he’ll most likely play next season. Both Lilja and Asamoah are under contract for next season.

The Chiefs currently have eight offensive linemen under contract for 2012, but just four of those players own previous starting experience.

Starts by Chiefs O-Linemen Under Contract for 2012

(Starting experience sorted by position, postseason starts included)

Left Tackle (61 starts): Branden Albert (61)

Left Guard (83 starts): Ryan Lilja (82), Rodney Hudson (1)

Center (0 starts): N/A

Right Guard (33 starts): Jon Asamoah (17), Ryan Lilja (16)

Right Tackle (0 starts): N/A

Offensive linemen on the Chiefs roster with no starting experience include David Mims, Darryl Harris, Rob Bruggeman and Lucas Patterson. Steve Maneri will move to tight end next season.

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