Excited after a whirlwind first round of the 2014 NFL Draft? We sure are. The writers at Cat Scratch Reader took the time to answer questions about the Panthers pick of Kelvin Benjamin and share their predictions for Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
1) What was your first reaction to the drafting of Kelvin Benjamin?
Ivan459: At first I was a little surprised. I felt that Philly passing on Lee made him and Su'a-Filo the top two potential picks. KB didn't even cross my mind. However, based on how quickly the Panthers turned in their card it is obvious how highly they valued him. I was happy with the pick. We have needed a WR badly, and now we have one.
Jaxon: I was a little stunned but happy with the pick. In spite of the perceived flaws I think we are going to love him in due time.
Brian Beversluis: At first I was completely stunned, but I settled into a cautious optimism. Big Boom/Bust guy but that size will be helpful regardless of how close to his ceiling he reaches.
Edgar Salmingo, Jr.: I was mildly shocked. In my head, I pictured Commissioner Roger Goddell reading off the name of either Marqise Lee or Morgan Moses. But when I heard Kelvin Benjamin, I got excited. Cam Newton finally gets the big, downfield target he has never had. Seriously, how fun is this going to be to watch?
2) Was it the right pick, or would you have drafted someone else? If yes, whom?
Ivan459: I think it was a good pick. Picking at the back end of the first is a bit of a crapshoot anyway. As I said, Lee or Su'a-Filo or even Kouandjio could have been considered. In the end, I trust Gettleman and the rest of the FO's decision.
Jaxon: There is no one left on the board that I would have preferred over Benjamin. The only reason I picked Lee in the SBN mock or any of my mocks is because in those scenarios Benjamin is off the board. I did notice the Saints went receiver and passed on him but they actually gave up an extra pick plus they didn't need a big WR, then needed the speed guy.
Brian Beversluis: I stand firm in believing it was the right pick. There were question marks with both KB and Lee, KB has the bigger upside. As far as OTs go, there's a reason why Cyrus and Moses both fell to the second.
Edgar Salmingo, Jr.: It's not the pick I would have made. Benjamin is going to be good for this team, and will be productive. But let us not forget where the biggest weakness is on this team. I would have gone for someone on the offensive line, like Cyrus Kouandjio or Morgan Moses. Will there still be offensive line talent at 60?
3) What do you expect from Benjamin in his first year?
Ivan459: I'm not expecting much to be honest. His game will take some time to round out. My honest expectation is 30-45 catches, 450-600 yards and 2-5 TD's.
Brian Beversluis: I expect a 500 yard 6-8 TD type season. Regardless of how raw he is, I think Shula tries to get him involved quickly as a redzone option. Cotchery and Avant are not going to match up to KB in redzone/goal line situations.
Edgar Salmingo, Jr.: Benjamin has the talent to put up numbers similar to LaFell and Ginn. Big games here and there, but some duds along the way also. My expectations for his TDs are conservative; I think Cam, Mike Tolbert, and Jerricho Cotchery will vulture a lot of his potential red zone TDs.
4) What preliminary grade are you giving the Panthers so far?
Ivan459: I'll give them a B. It is possible they could have traded down with Houston and still gotten KB in the second, but who knows if Houston or another team picking high in the second contacted them. In the end, we have our potential WR of the future. That itself is worth the pick.
Jaxon: My grade is an 'A' as Benjamin was the top WR on the board, one of the top players remaining and a huge need.
Brian Beversluis: I'll give it an A. Another situation where need met value.
Edgar Salmingo, Jr.: I am giving the Panthers a B so far. Good, solid pick on a huge weapon for Cam. But can't give an A to a team that still (this deep in the offseason!) has not found tackles to protect Cam Newton.
5) Which players are you banging the table for and hoping the Panthers draft on Day 2?
Ivan459: I wouldn't mind double dipping at WR and getting Cody Latimer or Devante Adams or Bruce Ellington in the second. However, we cannot afford to pass on a quality OT like Billy Turner, Jack Mewhort or Antonio Richardson if they are there. Again, it will depend on who falls to us at 60.
Jaxon: Now it's time to get an OT or maybe even two of them. Let's see how far Moses and Kouandjio slide as maybe one of them will be there at #60.
Brian Beversluis: I'm hoping either Moses or Cyrus continues to tumble. If not, a guy like Bitonio or Richardson. But if I had to pick a guy I'd say ASJ will get swiped up should he be there for the Panthers pick.
Edgar Salmingo, Jr.: For the love of Cam, please draft an offensive tackle at 60. Joel Bitonio, Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandjio, Jack Mewhort, Billy Turner... hopefully one of them will be there!