2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kelvin Benjamin

  • Big-time downfield play-maker
  • Fast for his size
  • Long-strider; can challenge a secondary vertically
  • Dominant size
  • Always open because of his size
  • Play-maker; a threat to score from anywhere on the field
  • Fantastic body control
  • Amazing along the sideline
  • Superb at making contested catches over defensive backs
  • Big target
  • Leaping ability
  • Physical with corners
  • Attacks the football
  • Adept at finding soft spots in zone
  • Red-zone weapon
  • Presents a size mismatch
  • Can run over defensive backs
  • Solid route-runner
  • Enough quickness to get separation
  • Third-down weapon
  • Gets yards after catch
  • Nice fit in a West Coast offense
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Needs to improve his hands
  • Will drop some passes
  • Raw
  • Must improve his route-running
  • Needs to improve blocking

  • Summary: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston took college football by storm in 2012 with a historic freshman season. Winston won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a National Championship. A big reason for Winston’s success was the play of the offense around him, and Benjamin was one of those play-makers who made Winston’s job easier.

    In 2012, Benjamin was a reserve as he caught 30 passes for 495 yards with four touchdowns. The redshirt freshman averaged 16.5 yards per catch, which was just a glimpse of what was to come.

    Benjamin made big plays for Winston downfield throughout the 2013 season. He used his speed to get deep and his size to make catches over defensive backs. Winston didn’t target Benjamin as much as he did teammate Rashad Greene, but Benjamin was a point-producer for Florida State. Late in the year, Benjamin destroyed Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy to the tune of 212 yards on nine catches with three touchdowns.

    In the final minute of the BCS National Championship, Florida State went to Benjamin for the game-winning touchdown. He made the catch going over Auburn cornerback Chris Davis in the middle of the end zone. Benjamin hauled in 54 receptions for 1,011 yards with 15 touchdowns in his final season of college football. Those numbers easily could have been a lot higher, but Florida State spread the ball around.

    Benjamin ran the 40-yard dash at the Combine in 4.61 seconds, but he plays faster than that time.

    For the NFL, Benjamin is mismatch nightmare. He has such daunting size that he is always open. Benjamin can get open downfield and get separation from defensive backs, but even when they cover him, he can make catches over them. With Benjamin’s size, leaping ability and body control, he is a fantastic red-zone weapon. If nothing else, Benjamin should be a touchdown-producer from the first day of his NFL carrer similar to Detroit Lions rookie tight end Joseph Fauria last year.

    Benjamin has the potential to be a No. 1 receiver, but he is raw. Benjamin needs to improve his route-running, technique and hands. Greene was Winston’s favorite receiver because he was more trustworthy than Benjamin, who was prone to some drops.

    Benjamin also could be a great weapon as a second receiver, similar to the Bears’ Alshon Jeffery is to Brandon Marshall. That might produce the best results for Benjamin, and he wouldn’t have the pressure to lead an offense as the primary receiver.

    With his tremendous skill set, Benjamin should be a mid- to late first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Alshon Jeffery. Benjamin’s game is similar to Jeffery. Both are big receivers who have enough speed to make plays downfield. Jeffery fell to the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft after getting overweight and having a down 2011 season. Prior to that, Jeffery was considered to be a high first-round talent. Benjamin should be selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

    NFL Matches: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York Jets, Cleveland, San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina, San Francisco

    There are a lot of teams that would be happy to land Benjamin in the first round. The highest he could hope to go would be to the Steelers or Ravens in the middle of the first round. Pittsburgh needs help at receiver and is said to be targeting a receiver with size. Benjamin would give Big Ben the large wide out he’s been lobbying for. Baltimore also needs a long-term complement to Torrey Smith, and Benjamin would be a great fit for the Ravens. He could be a legitimate replacement for Anquan Boldin, who was missed last year.

    Elsewhere in the AFC North, if Benjamin slides into the 20s, Cleveland could be a landing spot as a receiver to work on the other side from Josh Gordon.

    The Jets badly need more receiving help even after signing Eric Decker. Benjamin would be an immediate upgrade for New York’s receiving corps.

    In the AFC West, the Chiefs and Chargers could both consider Benjamin if he falls into the 20s, especially Kansas City. WalterFootball.com has heard that Kansas City has taken a liking to Benjamin. The massive receiver would help Alex Smith in the short and deep passing game.

    The Panthers and 49ers would probably be thrilled to land Benjamin, and he could end going late in the first round. However, San Francisco has a lot of extra picks, so the organization could target Benjamin with a trade up.


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