From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling a center prospect that transferred from Coastal Carolina to help form one of the better run blocking units in the ACC the last couple of seasons.
#76 Brock Hoffman, IOL, Virginia Tech (R-Sr.) – 6034, 310 lbs.
Shrine Bowl Invite
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Brock Hoffman||6034/310||10 1/2”||33 1/8”||80 1/2”|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has good size and a dense frame for the position
— Barrel-chested offensive lineman with the girth and frame to match
— Experienced starter, having logged 46 starts at both guard and center for Coastal Carolina and Virginia Tech
— Strong at the point of attack, having the ability to displace defenders in the run game
— Plays with a certain nasty you like to see on the OL, looking to finish his competition to the ground
— Executes a snatch trap move, chucking defenders to the floor and finishing on top of them
— Plays with a motor and is constantly looking for work
— Will climb to the second level and pick up defenders, running them away from the play
— Does a great job creating a seal in the run game for the back to run off his back side as he keeps his legs moving
— Possesses a finisher’s mentality when asked to lead up the hole or down block on his opponent
— Can drop anchor when he knowingly keeps his hip bend and lands a clean punch
— Has the technique to work laterally at the LOS to move side to side against pass rushers in pass protection
— Has good awareness to pick up twists and stunts upfront
— Isn’t the most functional athlete when working in space
— Can be slow out of his stance, allowing defenders to cross his face when in pass protection
— Struggles against the outside rush when needing to sync up his hands and feet together to mirror pass rushers
— Hand placement needs to be more consistent in the strike zone to prevent whiffed blocks
— Doesn’t play with a great anchor in pass protection, getting high and upright at times, thus immediately ceding ground to the competition
— Can get high at times coming off the LOS at the snap, leading to him giving ground right away into the backfield in the run game
— Father, Brian, played tight end and defensive end for Catawba College (1987-90)
— Signed and enrolled with Coastal Carolina in January 2017
— Played and started in 12 games, becoming the first true freshman to start at center in Coastal’s history
— Started all 12 games at right guard on the offensive line in 2018
— Was unable to see game action for the Hokies after his appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility was denied, redshirting in 2019
— Started all 11 games at center for Tech in 2020, helping the Hokies lead the ACC in rushing at 240.1 YPG
— Played in 12 games with 11 starts, ten at center and one at left guard (against Richmond, also saw action at RT due to injury on the offensive line against West Virginia
— All-ACC Honorable Mention (2021), Wells Fargo Advisors Humanitarian of the Year (2021), All-ACC Honorable Mention (2020)
— Earned All-ACC Academic Team (2020), President’s List – 4.0 GPA (2017 & 2018)
— Earned his degree in communication science and social inquiry in 2021
Brock Hoffman from Virginia Tech is has become used to receiving the short end of the stick as a football player. The NCAA denied a medical hardship waiver request by Hoffman back in 2019 who decided to transfer to be closer to his mom who was suffering from facial paralysis, hearing loss, and impaired eyesight after she had a non-cancerous brain tumor removed in 2017. Hoffman also wasn’t elected to attend the 2022 Senior Bowl and rather ended up going out to Las Vegas to participate in the Shrine Bowl instead. Just recently, Hoffman was snubbed of a 2022 NFL Combine invite, dashing him of a prime opportunity to test and speak with teams in hopes of boosting his draft stock.
Despite all these adversities popping up in Hoffman’s life, he has remained a steady presence on the football field as well as off it. He is a scholarly student, a humanitarian who enjoys service, and a steady, dependable football player who has logged 46 starts for two schools at both guard and center. Hoffman is a smart football player that knows how to use his body to his advantage, creating running lanes for a dynamic Hokie rushing attack. Here against the Mountaineers, we see Hoffman cede ground initially as he turns the defender’s shoulders away from the play side, springing the back to the right for a big run he takes to the house.
Hoffman does a great job generating a push in the run game, having the size and strength to be an effective down blocker on inside zone and gap runs. Watch this rep as Hoffman comes down on the inside shoulder of the defensive lineman, washing down the line to clear a wide running lane that the runner gets through for a nice five-yard gain on first down.
When he catches defensive linemen lunging forward into his block, Hoffman shows off some craftiness by executing the snatch trap technique to use their forward lean against them. Here is a good example against the Tar Heels where Hoffman grabs the defender’s shoulder and yanks him to the turf, finishing on top of him as the runner manages to get across the plane for the score.
When his hands and feet are synced up, Hoffman can displace plenty of defensive linemen and linebackers as a run blocker. He can climb to the second level effectively and pick off backers like we see on this rep against UNC, snapping the football and squares up his opponent as he latches on and walks him back into the end zone, turning the defender’s shoulders at the last second to create a nice seal for the back to run off of for the score.
Here is a similar example from the Shrine Bowl where Hoffman lines up at LG and gets the double team on the 1-technique, getting an inside punch as he chops his feet to steadily move the defender back, creating a wide hole that the runner exploits for the walk-in TD.
Hoffman is a bright football player with the instinctual awareness to recognize and pick up twists and stunts upfront by the defense. He also brings a finisher’s mentality to the table, looking to put guys on their backside and finish on top of them for good measure. Here is a great rep by Hoffman against Boston College where Hoffman absorbs the crashing defender on the stunt and tosses him to the side, putting him on the turf and then proceeds to turn him over and land on top of him for the physical pancake block.
While Hoffman brings plenty of experience and a nasty demeanor to the table, he does have several key aspects of his game that he needs to clean up. His hand placement and punch aren’t always accurate, thus leading to whiffed blocks and defenders running free into the backfield. We see a clear example of that here against West Virginia as Hoffman gets a hand on the nose tackle after the snap but proceeds to open his outside shoulder while missing the punch with his right hand, becoming a turnstile that the nose runs right around to meet his teammate at the QB for the sack.
Hoffman also struggles playing with a consistent anchor both as a pass protector and run blocker, often getting too upright upon the snap of the ball which leads to him giving ground in the pocket. Here in the same game, we see Hoffman get stood up right away against the defensive lineman that wins the leverage game, getting pushed back into the backfield where the defender works off the block and makes a play on the runner for no gain.
Hoffman also admirably filled in at RT in this game against the Mountaineers after his teammate went down to injury, but frankly he was exposed on the outside. We see Hoffman’s overall lack of functional athleticism and high-end foot quickness on these next two clips where the edge rusher runs right past him around the corner for the sack, one of which leads to a turnover on fourth down while in scoring range.
Overall, Brock Hoffman is a player that has overcome unfair circumstances to make himself into a fine football player and an even better human being. He showed his dedication to excellence in becoming the first true freshman to start at center in the history of Coastal Carolina Football and earned the starting job with the Hokies after completing the transfer to be closer to his mother. He is a rough, rugged player with plenty of experience and the position flexibility to play anywhere in the interior of the offensive line.
As far as pro comparisons go, a name that came to mind as a center/guard versatile player in the league is current Cincinnati Bengal IOL Ted Karras. Karras came out of Illinois back in 2016 and boasted nearly the same measurables as Hoffman (6’3 3/4”, 307lb, 32 1/2” arm) and came off as a steady, yet uninspiring prospect that lacked high-end athletic traits. This caused Karras to fall into the sixth round where the New England Patriots selected him to serve initially as a depth/swing player along the interior before he cracked the starting lineup, since logging 49 starts in 93 games played for the Patriots and Dolphins.
Personally, I see Hoffman’s career taking a similar path of Karras as he needs to develop more consistent hand placement and hip bend to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses to be a steady run blocker and pass protector in the league. Hoffman should come in looking to best fit and inside zone system but can likely play gap and power as well as a backup to start his career and potentially earn the opportunity to start down the road. For a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers who hit the offensive line heavy in free agency, Hoffman could be a sensible selection in the later rounds to continue to add depth and a player that may be able to contribute down the line.
Projection: Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.6 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: at West Virginia (2021), vs North Carolina (2021), at North Carolina (2020)