During yesterday's practice recently activated Brandon Hogan who was on the PUP list worked almost exclusively as the Panthers' 1st team CB. In some respects this move was a little shocking; after all, Captain Munnerlyn was just coming off arguably his best game as a Carolina Panther in his stellar performance against Minnesota.
If there's one thing we've learned about Ron Rivera and his staff it's that they won't hesitate to make a drastic move if they have a gut feeling about a player. For an example of this look no further than Greg Hardy who was named a starting defensive end before he ever took a practice snap with the Panthers due to his motorcycle injury. In fact, Brandon Hogan mirrors Greg Hardy in more ways than just getting their shots early, and we'll talk about him more...
After the jump
Who is Brandon Hogan? I'm not just talking the basics here, or the tangibles, as we should know most of those- fast, gifted, from West Virginia... yadda, yadda ,yadda. What I'm getting to is the real who?
This is a question that can't be answered with combine numbers or statistics, but is the aspect to Hogan that will matter the most as a member of the Carolina Panthers. Each year we look to correlate NFL prospects with players who have already arrived and the unfortunate name Brandon Hogan was most often shackled to was Adam "Pacman" Jones. This comparison had very little to do with their on field ability, but rather their skills off the field. Lets get this out of the way immediately, there is no room for opinion when it comes to what Hogan did at WVU, there's no conspiracy, hearsay or anything open to opinion... he behaved (for lack of a better term) like a thug. By saying this I'm referring to reports of 'numerous' marijuana charges, or near charges, a report of his being caught having sex in the WVU auditorium and finally a DUI charge that has him suspended from the team.
Despite these reports though that doesn't mean a tiger can't change his stripes, or a player can't mature. We saw these same kind of fears with Greg Hardy in 2010 when a combination of off field issues, reports of 'laziness' and an injury created the perfect storm that saw him fall to the 6th round. Similarly, Hogan was a fringe 1st round prospect who fell to the top of the 4th round due to his off field issues and ACL tear.
Now Hogan has a chance to step up. There's a very real chance he could be the long term answer for the Panthers at either CB or as a KR/PR (which he has experience with). The opportunity is in his hands, and if he can keep them clean he could be just what the doctor ordered.