Kelvin Benjamin is the type of receiver I liken to a hypothetical gigantic nugget discovered by a 19th century man mining in the mountains of California. His heart races with anticipation as he takes it to be inspected. It looks like the real thing, but the prospector is hesitant to believe it's as valuable as he dreams. After all, he's been seduced before by the shining lure of iron pyrite, otherwise known as fool's gold.
It is no secret that a great deal of fascination is associated with Benjamin's enormous potential. There are certainly traits that would suggest he will blossom into an All Pro receiver(or tight end) in the NFL, especially the physical ones.
At 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, the former Florida State Seminole certainly looks the part. His condor-sized wingspan of 83-inches pairs extremely well with his extra large 10 1/4-inch hands. However, for every spectacular reception he hauls in, there seems to be an equally egregious drop(3 in the video below). These concentration lapses have stained a portion of his college career and it isn't a stretch to connect them with a questionable work ethic. You could say that the foundation of my own doubt about his ability to succeed at the NFL level begins and ends with what appears to be a lack of desire on some level.
However, when this monstrous wide-out is locked in, he can dominate in a way that few others can and it's plain to see in his game tape against Florida. When Benjamin wasn't dropping passes, he was making tough catches in traffic and picking up chunks of yards after the catch as defenders were falling by the wayside in their futile attempts to bring him down. On this day, he was a touchdown machine, scoring three times while racking up 9 receptions for 212 yards.
But what intrigued me the most when researching and evaluating Benjamin was how startlingly similar he is to another receiver, who I will momentarily refer to as the Mystery Man. Take a quick look at their corresponding measurements and the stats from their final two seasons in college.
|Kelvin Benjamin||Mystery Man|
|Height||6' 5"||6' 4"|
|40 Yard Dash||4.61||4.62|
|Broad Jump||9' 11"||10' 1"|
|3 Cone Drill||7.33||7.28|
|10 Yard Split||1.66||1.58|
|20 Yard Shuttle||4.39||4.20|
Final Two Seasons in College
Throughout their college careers, both of these prospects had question marks concerning how much time and effort they put on the football field. Neither of them were ever viewed as being totally committed, but were remarkably successful nonetheless. They also operated in offenses that featured pro style concepts. Not only did each of these college standouts play in a National Championship game, but they also scored their respective teams final touchdown. But this is where the similarities end.
While Benjamin and his Seminoles went on to win their title game, Mystery Man wasn't so fortunate. Moreover, when our Mystery Man declared his eligibility for the NFL Draft following his Junior season, he was only 20 years old, whereas Benjamin was already 23. The remaining major difference is that Mystery Man was known for having hands of glue, which is something the aforementioned stone handed Benjamin cannot boast.
The Final Word
As is the case with all prospects, no one can provide irrefutable evidence that Benjamin will prosper in the NFL. This is the nature of the draft and it always will be. Nonetheless, the Florida native's future is clearly promising at this point and will continue to be so as long as he's willing to work diligently. If Benjamin thinks he'll be able to come in and take over from a physical standpoint alone, it won't happen. It is undeniable that he is a nightmare match-up, but he doesn't possess the natural speed of a Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss to burn past most defensive backs on a consistent basis. This is why he will need to concentrate on refining his route running if he wants to truly be great.
From a best case scenario point of view, I see Benjamin becoming an immensely dependable chain moving, red zone target who will occasionally offer deep threat value for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. From a worst case scenario angle, one doesn't have to look very far to see him turning into just another over-hyped underachiever. Such was the case for today's Mystery Man. He's known as Dwayne Jarrett around these parts.
What about you CSR? What do you think of Benjamin? Be sure to check out my latest mock draft at the very bottom of the page.
Carolina Panthers 2014 NFL Draft: 15.0
|1||WR Kelvin Benjamin||6' 5"||240||Florida State|
|2||OT Antonio Richardson||6' 6"||336||Tennessee|
|3||WR Bruce Ellington||5' 9"||197||South Carolina|
|4||DT DeAndre Coleman||6' 5"||314||California|
|5||OT/G/C Wesley Johnson||6' 5"||297||Vanderbilt|
|6||CB/S Dontae Johnson||6' 2"||200||N.C. State|
|7||OT/G Brandon Thomas||6' 3"||317||Clemson|