Former Pitt offensive linemen Alex Officer and Brandon Hodges were not selected in the 2018 NFL draft, but they were both signed by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night.
Officer spent his college career shifting between center and guard. All told, he started in 48 of Pitt’s 51 games over the last four years and played in each of those 51 games. He made 23 starts at center in 2014 and 2016, 13 at right guard in 2015, and 12 at left guard in 2017.
After his senior season, Officer was invited to play in the 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alongside Hodges on the National team. He helped pave the way for a one-yard touchdown run by former Stanford running back Daniel Marx and a 12-yard touchdown run by former Howard running back Anthony Philyaw. Hodges pitched in as well on Philyaw’s score.
Hodges only played with the Panthers briefly, as he came to Pitt as a graduate transfer from Texas in July 2017. However, after initially battling with Jaryd Jones-Smith for playing time at right tackle, he ended up splitting time at right guard with Alex Bookser and Mike Herndon, starting against Georgia Tech, Rice and Youngstown State and playing in eight other games.
During his only non-redshirt season in Texas, Hodges started nine games at right tackle and played in 11 of the Longhorns’ 12 games in 2016. However, after missing part of spring practices for academic reasons, Hodges fell down the pecking order at right tackle and appeared posed to sit behind Tristan Nickelson and Denzel Okafor, prompting his transfer.
The Raiders offensive line has done fine in terms of pass protection, as it allowed just 24 sacks in 2017, which was tied for the third-fewest in the NFL. However, the team’s running game faltered a bit last season, as the Raiders ranked 25th in the league with 97.1 rushing yards per game after previously ranking sixth with 120.1 yards per game in 2016.
If Officer and Hodges can help them on that front, there could be a place for them in Oakland.