Andre James

AFC West Notes: Mahomes, Lock, Harris, Raiders

Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes is questionable for Kansas City’s upcoming game against the Vikings, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Mahomes, of course, was injured on Thursday Night Football of Week 7 against the Broncos during a quarterback sneak. In a freak incident, Mahomes dislocated his right kneecap.

He returned to practice just six days after the injury, but was quickly ruled out for last Sunday’s game against the Packers. While his status is still up in the air, Rapoport reiterates “At the least, he is considered to have a shot to play.” At 5-3, Kansas City has some breathing room in the AFC West divisional race. However, the chances of a high seed and a first-round bye would be greatly diminished the longer they have to stick with backup Matt Moore.

Here’s more from around the AFC West:

  • While quarterback Brandon Allen is currently next in line for the Broncos after Joe Flacco‘s injury landed him on injured reserve, the team plans to play rookie second-round pick Drew Lock in Denver’s final two games against the Lions and Raiders, according Mike Klis of 9News. Flacco was diagnosed with a disk injury in his neck that requires at least six weeks to recover. Given the Broncos 2-6 record, the team decided to shut down the veteran for the season. Allen is in his fourth NFL season, but has yet to appear in a regular season game.
  • After weeks of trade rumors, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris could be staying in the mile-high city beyond this season, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. With three young daughters and a fourth coming soon, Harris told Jhabvala he was “Definitely relieved and happy to be able to finish the year here.” The news comes as somewhat of a surprise given Harris’ tumultuous relationship with the organization over the past few seasons. However, according to Jhabvala, the team’s new coaching staff has meshed well with the upcoming free-agent.
  • Both Raiders centers Rodney Hudson and Andre James are listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Lions. They both are dealing with ankle injuries and managed to practice, but according to head coach Jon Gruden, both were “sore.”

Raiders C Rodney Hudson To Miss Time

Raiders center Rodney Hudson is expected to miss time while dealing with an ankle injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Hudson isn’t the only Oakland center sidelined by an ankle issue — backup Andre James is also battling a sprain, and he too could miss the Raiders’ Week 9 game against the Raiders. If neither Hudson nor James can play on Sunday, veteran left guard Richie Incognito will likely slide to center and play the pivot for the first time since 2010, tweets Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Fellow center Erik Magnuson, signed earlier today, may also be in contention to start in the middle of Oakland’s front five.

Hudson isn’t going on injured reserve, an indication the Raiders don’t believe his injury to be a long-term issue. But there’s no question the veteran center’s presence will be missed for however long he remains sidelined. Oakland, which has a 21% chance of earning a postseason berth per FiveThirtyEight.com, already had its bye in Week 6, so there’s no free week for Hudson to get healthy late in the season.

Midway through his ninth NFL campaign (and fifth in Oakland), Hudson is still playing like one of the NFL’s best centers. Through seven starts, Hudson grades as the league’s third-best pivot, per Pro Football Focus, which ranks Hudson as the NFL’s No. 2 pass-blocking center behind only Cleveland’s J.C. Tretter. As a unit, the Raiders’ offensive line ranks top-four in both pass-blocking and run-blocking, according to Football Outsiders‘ adjusted yards metrics.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Sign 10 UDFAs

Teams continue to announce their undrafted free agent hauls. Here is the Raiders’ 10-man contingent:

Going heavy on offensive linemen after a nine-player draft did not bring any blockers, the Raiders added some big-school talent with extensive starting experience. Cotton started 28 games for the Crimson Tide, at both left and right guard, helping Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Raiders first-rounder Josh Jacobs to big per-carry numbers. McNeil has both guard and tackle experience and was a key presence (46 starts in a four-year career) in helping Lamar Jackson to two dominant seasons with the Cardinals.

The duo, along with James and Roemer, will battle to join 2018 second-round pick Brandon Parker among the Raiders’ backup linemen. With Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict signed to one-year deals, the Raiders’ Las Vegas tenure may need some new blood at linebacker. The Raiders did not draft one, so Coney (two 100-plus-tackle seasons with the Fighting Irish) and Farmer (28 starts with the Nittany Lions) figure to be candidates to stick around via the 53-man roster or, more likely, the practice squad.

Doss said he received better offers than what the Raiders proposed, but UC Davis’ all-time receiving leader opted to play for his hometown team (before it relocates to Vegas next year). Jon Gruden mentioned pre-draft that he wanted to add at least one more cornerback to the roster, but the Raiders drafted both Trayvon Mullen (in Round 2) and Isaiah Johnson (in Round 4). That will make Mabin and Nixon’s paths to the active roster difficult.