When the Raiders elected to overhaul their offensive line by trading away three starters, center Andre James was a significant part of the equation.
Entering his third season, James converted from being a college tackle to a pro center as a rookie. When starter Rodney Hudson went down with an injury in 2019, James filled in successfully. And even though James didn’t play any offensive snaps in 2020, he apparently continued to make progress behind the scenes in practice.
So, James is now in line to start after Las Vegas traded Hudson to Arizona in March. And veteran left guard Richie Incognito recently said he thinks James can be successful.
“First and foremost, Andre is a great dude,” Incognito said during the offseason program, via Levi Edwards of the team’s website. “He’s a great guy, he’s a hard worker, he’s humble, he’s hungry. He’s got position flexibility. He played tackle in college and then got to the league and played center. I go back to 2019 when Rod went down, and Andre had to come in the game in Houston, and we didn’t miss a beat. We were hammering them with the ball, we were running on them, we were making a comeback late and Andre stepped in the next week [against] Detroit and he played at a high level.
“He’s a hard-working kid. He’s passionate. He’s from humble beginnings, being an undrafted guy, so I’m excited to see him go.”
The Raiders already rewarded James with a three-year contract extension worth $12.5 million with $6 million guaranteed. Time will tell if James can seamlessly replace Hudson, who has long been regarded as one of the league’s best centers.