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2011 NFL Draft: Former Mountaineers Brandon Hogan & Robert Sands NFL-Bound

The 2010 NFL Draft only found one Mountaineer getting drafted, so the 2011 Draft is already a notable improvement for West Virginia University with Brandon Hogan and Robert Sands being selected in the the fourth and fifth rounds.

Former Mountaineer cornerback Brandon Hogan was drafted in the fourth round by the Carolina Panthers as the No. 98 pick of the draft. Hogan's career at West Virginia was up and down, but no one can discount the growth he made over his time in Morgantown. Carolina has many needs on both sides of the ball, should Hogan have a productive offseason he could make this squad easily. As the No. 98 pick, Hogan is the highest drafted Mountaineer defender since Adam "Pacman" Jones went sixth overall in 2005.

Safety Robert Sands was the next Mountaineer off the board going to the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round with the No. 134 overall pick. Sands is still a raw football player, but it was obvious the entire time he was in gold and blue that he had the physical gifts needed to succeed at the next level. The Bengals have an improving defense brewing, and if Sands can handle all the cover responsibilities he could make an impact. Sands loves to hit and won't need to work on anything there but he could take time adapting to the professional game.

This draft could see more ex-Mountaineers get their names called, including running backs Noel Devine and Jock Sanders, and defensive standouts JT Thomas, Chris Neild and Scooter Berry.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.