Bene Benwikere NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Panthers CB

Ian WhartonContributor IMarch 10, 2014

San Jose State Spartans defensive back Bene Benwikere (21) knocks the ball away from Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver JD Falslev (12) in the end zone in the 4th quarter of an NCAA college football game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/John Storey)
John Storey/Associated Press

Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose St. (HT: 5’10¾”; WT: 195 lbs)

Carolina Panthers

Fifth Round: 148th Pick 

NFL Comparison: Leonard Johnson, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Combine Weigh In
HeightWeightArmHand
510619530"9 1/8"
NFL.com
Combine Results
40-yard dash10-yard splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle
4.63N/A40.5"10' 2"6.944.38
NFL.com

 

 

Positives

  • Decent height and weight, with his frame being muscular and not needing to add more strength at this time.
  • Excellent leaper, which he demonstrated during games and at the NFL combine, where he posted an impressive 40.5’’ vertical. Not only can he jump with the best athletes at wide receiver, but he also has great timing when he jumps. He can highpoint the ball and steal it away from the offensive player.
  • Recognizes plays well by keeping his eyes in the backfield for most of the play. This allows him to either break toward the line of scrimmage or retreat into coverage quickly. He isn’t great at play recognition, but he’s good enough for an incoming rookie to not be concerned.
  • Has good spatial awareness, taking advantage of the nearby sideline whenever possible. Being able to work the sidelines is an important trait for a zone cornerback, which Benwikere should be in the NFL.
  • Very good defender on deep routes when playing in off-man and Cover 3 zone, which allow him to read the quarterback and mitigates most speed discrepancies. By getting a 10-yard head start, he can focus on getting into position to play the ball and “box-out” the receiver.
  • Good versatility after moving between the slot and boundary as a junior and senior. Although I believe he fits best as a boundary corner that can defend the sidelines, he can move inside at times.
  • He was a major contributor as a special teams player. Coaches love rookies who want to play special teams, and he showed solid effort throughout his career in college.

 

 

Negatives

  • Stiff hips will limit the possibility of playing in man coverage consistently. He has trouble releasing from press-man because he cannot cut sharply with the receiver.
  • His limited quickness and fluidity causes him to stay too far off in coverage, leaving him vulnerable to easy curl routes underneath. The defensive scheme could’ve been too vanilla, but he was not aggressive on underneath routes.
  • Really lacks even average speed for an NFL defensive back. If he doesn’t have the cushion that zone provides, he struggles running with receivers.
  • He had strong production, but he played poor competition, and most of his stats came against the worst teams. He often looked like just a guy (JAG).
  • Technique needs to improve when mirroring a receiver downfield. He doesn’t stay on the hip of the receiver often. He will just trail the receiver and be in the area, but not close enough to make a play on the ball.
  • Lacks arm length to be an effective press corner, with very short arms (in the fourth percentile).
  • Struggled as a run defender. He couldn’t shed blocks against mediocre (at best) receivers and had issues finishing tackles when he was in the right position.

 

 

Collegiate Statistics
YearTeamTacklesPDINT
2010San Jose St7451
2011San Jose St1841
2012San Jose St67117
2013San Jose St55115
http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/bene-benwikere-1.html

 

Personal Notes

  • All-WAC First Team in 2012
  • Two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Week
  • Graduating with a degree in sociology
  • Twitter handle is @Benwik_CHOSEN1

 

Ratings Chart

Graph made by http://nces.ed.gov

Overall

Benwikere has some intriguing skills that generally translate well when those traits are good enough; skills such as eye-discipline, leaping ability and spatial awareness. Due to these skills, I think he can have success in a Cover 3 zone, or step into the slot and contribute. 

Draft Projection: Fifth Round