James replaces longtime center Rodney Hudson
As we prepare for the Las Vegas Raiders to open training camp in exactly two weeks, we are seeing a lot of national stories looking at the X-Factor for each team.
I thought I would present my X-Factors for the Raiders’ offense and defense. I will do the offense for today and I will present my 2021 Raiders’ defensive X-Factor in a post this week. To me, being an X-Factor means a player may not be a star, but he is one whose play this season will be paramount for the unit to perform at a high level.
Las Vegas Raiders offensive 2021 X-Factor:
Center Andre James
Why: The Raiders’ offense started with star center Rodney Hudson for the past six years. Hudson, one of the best centers in the NFL, is now with the Arizona Cardinals and the Raiders are going with James in Hudson’s place. Even though he has played just one NFL game at center, Las Vegas is high on James. He better be good.
The Raiders’ offense begins in the middle of the offensive line. If James can play at a high level, they may not miss Hudson. If James struggles, though, the entire Raiders’ offense may take a step back.
Other players considered:
Running back Kenyan Drake, Wide receivers Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and John Brown; tight end Foster Moreau, right tackle Alex Leatherwood, left guard Richie Incognito.
There are a lot of good candidates and I almost went with Drake. But I think James’ weight on the X-Factor scale is the heaviest of any player on this unit. If he plays well, the Raiders could be in great shape.