"With the 98th overall pick in the 2011 draft the Carolina Panthers take Brandon Hogan, cornerback West Virginia University." Fast forward nearly eight months and we have yet to see our rookie DB in live game action. After being activated last month to the active roster, Hogan has been plagued by pain in his recovering knee so coaches have wisely kept him out of games for fear of injuring the knee further.
There is a very real possibility that we may not see Hogan take the field this year. I agree with this decision because from what I've read of Hogan we may have found our CB opposite Gamble for the next decade IF his raw potential can be focused. After the jump, let's take a look at what led up to Brandon Hogan joining the Carolina Panthers.
The Good - A talented cornerback with raw athletic ability, Hogan finished his career as a Mountaineer with 171 tackles, 31 passes defended, 2.5 TFL, and 7 interceptions. Making this stat line more impressive is that Hogan didn't spend four complete seasons as a DB. In his freshman year, Hogan was utilized as a WR and return specialist. Also, his senior year was cut short by a suspension and injury. In high school, Hogan was quarterback for undefeated Manassas and passed for 2,536 yards, 32 TDs; rushed for 1,735 yards, 26 TDs as a senior. Due to his size, or lack thereof, most colleges projected him as a defensive back based on raw athletic talent. Multiple scouting reports praised his tackling ability, something the Panthers secondary lacks, his nose for the ball and how he looks to make things happen after the interception. His background as a WR and return specialist aid him in this aspect.
The Bad - At 5'10" and 192 lbs. Hogan is not much bigger than Munnerlyn, however watch film on the rookie and it's easy to see that he plays bigger than his measurables. On December 4th, 2010 Hogan tore his ACL. This kept him out of WVU's bowl game and prevented him from showcasing all of his abilities at the NFL combine. Scouting reports pointed out that Hogan can be guilty of biting hard on fakes, over-agressiveness and looking for the big play. Often times this paid dividends for opposing QB's.
The Ugly - In June 2010, Hogan pleaded guilty to urinating in public while his disorderly conduct charge was dropped. Hogan was suspended from the Mountaineers in September 2010 after being arrested and charged with a DUI. Hogan was later allowed to return to the team. On April 5th, 2011 Hogan was cited for driving with a suspended license following a minor traffic accident. There were also rumors that Hogan was caught having sex in a WVU auditorium. While I see no problem with trying to make theatre more interesting, when you're trying to improve your image and secure a higher draft spot this is just a dumb move.
If I've learned anything from our selection of Cam Newton with the #1 overall pick it's to not be too quick to rush to judgement. Brandon Hogan has kept his nose clean since being signed by Carolina. One can only hope that he realized how unique of an opportunity it is to be an NFL player and he will not do anything to jeopardize this.
Based on what I've read and game film of Brandon Hogan I feel he has nothing but the potential to grow in the NFL. Armanti Edwards has shown us how hard it is to transition to a different position. Between 2006 and 2008, Hogan played three different positions (QB, WR and CB) and excelled at two. This tells me that he has natural football instincts on top of raw talent. His mechanical concerns brought up on scouting reports are easy to correct with the proper coaching and he's proven himself to be not only a sound tackler, but a violent one as well. This is an excellent base to build on.
If Brandon Hogan can recover from his ACL injury and continue to stay out of trouble I think he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl caliber DB. I don't think he'll be the type of player that the talking heads attach an "Island" at the end of his name, I see him more in the mold of Charles Woodson. Great football instincts that lead to the big play. He will get burned from time to time and catches will be made on his side of the field. However, any inconsistancy in passes to his receiver will be taken advantage of. This is a true boom or bust pick and it should be an exciting ride if Hogan lives up to his potential.