Full name: Marcus Hudson
School: North Carolina State
Position: Free safety
Weight: 193 pounds
Year: Fifth-year senior
40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds
Biography: Started final four games of true freshman season at cornerback in 2001, returning his lone interception 100 yards for a touchdown. His 509 snaps played were the most of any true freshman on the team. Hudson then started started 12 games with three interceptions as a sophomore in 2002 before missing 2003 season due to academic ineligibility. Moved to free safety during spring practice of junior season and and was named the Most Outstanding Player on defense, then ranked fifth on the team in tackles, including a career-high 15 in a win against Maryland. Also had two interceptions, returning one 60 yards for a touchdown. Was only defenderto score two touchdowns during sason, also scoring after recovering a blocked punt. Moved back to cornerback for senior season in 2005 with mixed results, finishing with 58 tackles, 11 passes defensed and two interceptions - one of which he returned for a touchdown.. Stood out as a special teams star in college. Four of Hudson's brothers also played college football - Jerel at Florida State, Nate and Eric at Bethune-Cookman and Kevin at Iowa State.
Positives: Has good size with long arms on a frame that can add bulk. Hudson is a versatile athlete with the quick feet, acceleration and playing speed that is tough to find in a safety. He can open his hips, adjusts well to routes and can run with most receivers, something he got a lot of work at while playing at cornerback last season. His instincts combine with his athleticism to let him get outside to make tackles against the run and to make plays on the ball vs. deep, outside passes. Can be a hard hitter who gets to the ball as soon as it arrives and is a good open-field tackler.
Negatives: Is not polished in coverage, showing indecisiveness at the snap, and does not always play with a physical mentality against the pass. Hudson does not maintain focus all the time and it leads to him staying upright and missing tackles he should make. He does not consistently come up aggressively in run support and becomes a catch tackler too often. When he is not aggressive, he does not make plays on passes nearly as often. That leaves him out of position too often without the speed to compensate for it. Tore a knee ligament during Senior Bowl week practice in February and did not participate in the game.
Analysis: A versatile, intriguing prospect who has the frame to play safety and adequate speed to play cornerback in some coverage packages. Hudson played well as a junior at safety but had mixed results at cornerback in 2005. He has the body to cover tight ends in man-to-man coverage. Is at his best when playing aggressively, when the speed of his game tends to accelerate. His versatility makes him an attractive prospect for several secondary coverage packages, and he also can help the 49ers in several areas of their special teams units.
Niners No. 6b pick: Marcus Hudson
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