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A pair of linemen solidify first-round grades; Nevada has a pair of hidden gems

Updated: October 11, 2010, 6:05 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Rodney Hudson and Marcell DareusGetty ImagesRodney Hudson and Marcell Dareus both had big weeks, with differing results.

In Florida State's 45-17 victory over Miami (Fla.), 6-foot-2 1/4, 283-pound left guard Rodney Hudson showed why he's the No. 1-rated interior lineman available for the 2011 draft. A starter with the Seminoles since his freshman year, he has earned first-team All-ACC honors the last two seasons. Hudson isn't the most physically imposing player at the position, but what enables him to excel is very good footwork and overall athleticism combined with excellent technique. He is an exceptional pass-blocker and very adept at blocking in space. Concerning the former: He's a natural knee-bender who displays very good hand placement and mirrors defensive tackles with ease.

As we witnessed on numerous occasions against the Hurricanes, his understanding of leverage enables him to excel at directional blocking in the ground game. Lacking the size that some NFL teams covet in their linemen, ideally you would like to see Hudson go to a team that employs a zone blocking scheme where his talents could be put to their best use.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst