Carolina Panthers

Kelvin Benjamin NFL Draft 2014: Scouting Report Breakdown for Panthers WR

Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (1) runs after catching a pass in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla. FSU won 69-3. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Phil Sears
Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State (HT: 6'5", WT: 240 lbs)

Carolina Panthers

First Round: 28th Pick 

NFL Comparison: Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears 

 

Highlights

 

Overall Strengths

+ Elite size and potential to dominate jump-ball situations. 

+ Long arms and big hands give him potential as a reliable possession receiver. 

+ Above-average speed for a tall, possession receiver. 

 

Overall Weaknesses

- Inconsistent hands and poor technique. 

- Limited route-running experience. 

- Shaky body control when going up for contested passes.

Combine Weigh-In
HeightWeightArmsHands
605024034 7/8"10 1/4"
NFL.com
Combine Workout
40-Yard Dash10-Yd SplitVerticalBroad Jump3-Cone DrillShuttle
4.611.6632 1/2"9'11"7.334.39
NFL.com

 

Physical Tools

It would be tough to construct a more physically imposing prospect at wide receiver. Benjamin has the height and bulk to be a dominant possession receiver and enough speed to stretch the field. His raw tools put him in a class with guys like Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall

 

Hands

Benjamin struggled mightily with drops throughout his brief college career. A lack of focus has led to some of Benjamin's issues, but it also stems from poor technique.

Benjamin struggles to adjust to the ball and put himself in position to extend his arms and snatch it from the air. This led to a lot of balls coming into his chest and far too many double-catches, as in the play below, which will lead to more passes being broken up at the last second in the NFL.

Draft Breakdown

 

Body Control

With his size, coming down with contested catches should be Benjamin's greatest strength, but a lack of body control has led to issues for him in this area. He struggles adjusting the ball and maintaining focus at the same time, leading to some ugly drops. 

Draft Breakdown

 

Route Running

Benjamin has the tools to develop into a well-rounded receiver, but he wasn't asked to run the full route tree at Florida State. In addition to learning the timing and depth of new routes, he'll also need to learn some basic fundamentals of the routes he should have already mastered. 

The play below shows the perfect example of Benjamin's lack of fundamentals. While he runs the route correctly, he initially turns the wrong way:

Draft Breakdown

This is a basic corner route in the end zone. With the ball thrown over his left shoulder, Benjamin has the ability to box out the defensive back. There's simply no scenario in which he should expect the ball to be thrown over his right shoulder in the exact direction of the defender.

  

Field Awareness

Benjamin wouldn't have worked well with Johnny Manziel. He lacks the basic field awareness to adjust when the play breaks down and often doesn't even make an effort. 

On this play against Florida, Benjamin runs his route and then stands around watching as Jameis Winston is flushed from the pocket and ultimately sacked:

Draft Breakdown

 

Penalties

Benjamin's poor fundamentals and lack of awareness sometimes impact the game in more obvious ways. While it's a plus that he's a physical receiver, he needs to become subtler in his attempts to battle with defensive backs.

When engaged in physical battles, Benjamin tends to get grabby with defensive backs when it often isn't necessary.

On this play against Florida, which inexplicably was not flagged by the refs, Benjamin all but tackles the defensive back in an effort to break free. Had he simply run his route, he would have likely broken free anyway, as he held a significant size advantage and there was no safety over the top.

Draft Breakdown

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