After taking care of the Quarterback and interior DL positions, the Panthers focus moved to Cornerback. With Richard Marshall apparently headed elsewhere, the Panthers turned their eyes to a highly talented CB from West Virginia, selecting Brandon Hogan with the first pick of the 4th round. Hogan had a very productive career at WVU, displaying the instincts and skill set that could translate into a successful career with the Panthers, if he can stay out of trouble.
Hurney on Hogan: "He's a very good player, a very, very good corner. His skill level is high. … Football is very important to him." Watching him on film, I am in total agreement with Hurney. He was considered a second round talent, but slid to the fourth because of an ACL injury and off-field concerns. One thing everyone is in agreement on is that Hogan is 5'10.5" tall and weighs 192 lbs. The majority of sites (Rotoworld, CBSSports, BleacherReport) report that he runs a 4.43 forty. SI has it at 4.52. I don't know where they're getting these numbers from, since he didn't run at the combine or his pro day because, well, he's recovering from ACL surgery. I say majority rules, but either way he's fast. In terms of size, he's 1.5" short of the magical 6' mark, but also 1.5" taller than Captain.
As a cover corner, Brandon Hogan displays a quick, smooth backpedal, keeping a good cushion between himself and the WR until the route unveils itself. As a former QB, Hogan likes to watch the QB pre-snap, trying to get a read on where the primary route is going. He keeps the play in front of him and an eye toward the backfield, then displays excellent closing speed when the ball is in the air. He recognizes double moves and demonstrates good straight-line speed down the field and a good closing burst on the football once he gets his head around.
When playing press coverage, Hogan does a nice job being patient, sliding his feet and then hitting the inside release with his outside hand and rerouting the receiver off the line. He is tough to disengage from and loves to get his hands on his target. He exhibits impressive body control and physicality when asked to fight receivers vertically and knows how to go up and high point the play.
Hogan is a sneaky CB looking to make the big play, and often succeeding. But, what separates him from other CBs, in my opinion, is that he's as tough as a female divorce lawyer (well, almost). He loves playing football, and he really loves hitting. One analyst used the term "chip on his shoulder," which appears to be a recurring theme for our draft class. It is a fact, though, that the WVU defensive coordinator noticed how hard he could hit, and convinced him to switch from WR to CB.
I feel sure that Hogan's tackling prowess is what drew the eye of Rivera. If a receiver doesn't have the ball secured, Hogan brings the big hit to dislodge it. He's excellent at wrapping up or under-cutting, but the ball carrier is going down. Hogan simply doesn't allow "yards after catch" on his turf, and he's also fearless in run support.
When at full speed, Hogan is a handful for opposing offenses. He started 33 games in the defensive backfield over his final three seasons at WVU, racking up 171 total tackles, 24 pass breakups, seven interceptions and four fumble recoveries. As a freshman, he played wide receiver, after playing quarterback at Osbourn High School in Manassas, Va., leading his team to the state championship.
I urge you, if you haven't done so already, check out this video.
More on Brandon Hogan after the jump...
On the Field - Needs to polish up his footwork a bit and learn to keep his pad level down more consistently.
Hogan sometimes will take calculated risks, leaving his man trying to jump a route and miss on his read. He loses discipline at times, biting hard and taking direct angles to the ball without regard to his assignment on the play. He gets beat for big plays when trying to bait the quarterback downfield or sitting on short routes.
Meeks will need to work with Hogan a bit on the footwork, and try to curb the risk-taking. Good NFL QBs will not bite when he tries to bait them; instead, they'll likely use it against him by looking off the receiver and by using pump fakes. The key will be to instill discipline without impacting Hogan's aggressiveness.
Injury - Hogan tore his ACL in the last game of 2010, causing him to miss the team's bowl appearance against NC State. His rehab is going well (ahead of schedule), and he is expected to be back to full speed in August. I would be surprised, however, if he isn't restricted in Training Camp.
Off the Field - On April 6, 2011, Morgantown Police responded to an accident. No one was hurt, thankfully, and I couldn't find out who was at fault. But when running the IDs, Brandon Hogan's came back showing his license was suspended. He was issued a citation. Brandon Hogan chose to drive to his rehab appointment, knowing his license was suspended.
Why was the license suspended, you ask? Hogan was charged with DUI in September 2010. Police arrested him as he was driving the wrong way on a one-way street at 3:30am. Hogan was placed in the state's DUI deferral program. This program requires him to have one of those fancy breath-checkers installed in his car for 165 days, after which he can seek to have the arrest expunged from his record. WVU coach Bill Stewart suspended Hogan indefinitely, which turned out to be one game (against Maryland). He returned the next week against LSU, recording 3 tackles and 1 pass defensed.
And then there's this - On April 18th, 2010, Hogan was cited for Urinating in Public and Disorderly Conduct. Believe me, I tried to find the details on this incident, but alas, I failed. In any case, that's three run-ins with the law in less than a year. He has also had academic issues, and reportedly showed up out of shape to practice last year.
Coach Rivera is well aware that Hogan is littered with character flags. "I laid it out," said Rivera. "There's no three strikes you're out. You're here to do it our way, the right way, the Panthers' way. If not, there will be some consequences." Added GM Marty Hurney, "He knows he can't make any more bad decisions."
Value of the Pick
Hogan is a 2nd round value hampered by atrocious decision making in his personal life. If he gets his act together, we have a draft gem. My highly astute better half believes he'll be in trouble again soon. It's hard to argue that she's wrong, but since she's not in the room, I say let's give the kid a little leeway on his past transgressions. One thing that struck me as I researched Hogan was that his coaches, from Stewart to his position coach, all love him. Stewart considers him to be like a son. Hogan's teammates also love him. We're not talking about a kid with bad character. We're talking about a kid that grew up in a D.C. slum, found his way out through football, but never learned to weigh the consequences of his decisions. When asked what he's learned over the past year, Hogan responded:
It just taught me that I had to grow up, you know. I made a lot of mistakes. I was young. I just can't mess up anymore ... go away from partying ... just get focused. It just taught me to grow up.
Based on his skills, I would be inclined to say 50/50. With the ACL, I'm far more skeptical. Some have suggested Hogan may start the season on the PUP list. I'm throwing out the red flags, because if he screws up, he's gone. I'm going with a 5% chance he starts the season at nickel, with a rapidly progressing upswing as he heals and learns.
1% chance Hogan starts as #1 or #2 corner in game 1.
Fit on the Depth Chart
It's hard to predict what roster moves will be make once FA and trades open up. I'm going to assume here that only Marshall is gone. That puts Gamble and Munnerlyn at 1 and 2. Then you have Robert McClain, R.J. Stanford, and C.J. Wilson. Hogan will be better than these three, and has the potential to battle for the #2 spot, though not this year.
I knew nothing of Brandon Hogan before his name was called to start day 3 of the draft. I've since googled everything I can find, and I see a large upside or huge downslide, but it's entirely up to him to avoid dumb decisions. He’s tough, feisty, can run, and will tackle in the run game. He fell to round four because of medical/character concerns. But the talent is there for Hogan to start on the outside, play in the slot and could even see some reps at safety because of his tough demeanor. He will also be a contributor on special teams coverage units, and can return punts if needed.
Like a midget at a urinal, Hogan's going to have to be on his toes to keep out of trouble.