Few, if any, had Brock Hoffman as one of the Cowboys’ projected backup offensive linemen going into training camp. But based on reports out of Oxnard and the team’s own released depth charts, Hoffman has surprisingly moved into the backup center role and is now one of the more likely candidates to make Dallas’ roster at final cuts.
Hoffman was actually a quiet addition to the team late last season. He was added to the practice squad in mid-November and even elevated to the active roster for the final three regular reason games. He also dressed for the playoff game against the 49ers, but in none of these did he actually see snaps on offense.
During that time, backup Matt Farniok was on injured reserve from a torn hamstring. Rookie prospect Alec Lindstrom was also on injured reserve and even starter Tyler Biadasz missed Week 18 with an ankle sprain but returned for the playoffs. So with these various absences, Hoffman never really made news and felt like little more than a warm body as the team scrambled to fill out the depth chart.
Undrafted in 2022 out of Virginia Tech, Hoffman was signed by the Cleveland Browns and made their practice squad. He was actually a lower-rated center prospect in the class than Lindstrom, who the Cowboys made a priority singing as a rookie free agent. Hoffman remained with the Browns until being released from the practice squad on November 7th and getting picked up by Dallas about a week later.
But as the Cowboys’ 2023 training camp has progressed, Hoffman has moved past both Farniok and Lindstrom to become the second-team center. This has been consistently reported from Oxnard and now confirmed by the latest depth chart released on the team’s official website.
With sufficient size to play guard and even some experience doing so in college, Hoffman now appears to be in the driver’s seat for that key role as an interior line backup. It could even threaten Farniok’s roster spot if the Cowboys prefer other prospects like Josh Ball or Asim Richards as reserve guards.
While Biadasz has been reliable the last two seasons, the backup center is no small role on the team. The ability to step in and handle snaps and calls on the line can be crucial to the offense’s success. The Cowboys certainly know this well from the 2018 season when Joe Looney had to become the starter following Travis Frederick’s unfortunate bout with Guillain–Barré syndrome.
While we don’t know if he or any other current candidate could be as proficient as Looney, Brock Hoffman at least seems to have become the current frontrunner for the job. Hopefully, he and the rest of Dallas’ reserve linemen will have better showings in the next two preseason games than what we saw against Jacksonville.