Arrelious Benn’s career at Illinois didn’t go as he planned while he struggled with inconsistency at quarterback and the injuries he had to cope with.
But he, along with every Illinois fan, knew deep down inside that he still had plenty of potential waiting to be unveiled.
So, when the NFL draft came around, most people did not know when Benn would be taken; he was thought to go either late first round or early second round.
After a long, nerve-wracking 38 picks, he was chosen 39th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; after that, he knew right away that he had to get to business and make it clear that he is there to compete and win.
He has done exactly that.
He made a very good impression on Tampa Bay coaches and reporters during the Bucs’ rookie minicamp.
Benn is a 6'1", 219-pound wide receiver who is well-known for his speed, strength, and great hands.
Another rookie wide receiver for the Bucs, Mike Williams, had some very pleasant words about Benn and his style of play.
"He's amazing," said Williams—a wide receiver from Syracuse who dealt with off-the-field issues last season—talking about Benn. "I see a big, strong receiver who can go down the field and catch the ball in traffic. And he has hands. I shook his hand the other day, and I said, 'Wow, he's got big hands.'"
So, we all expect Benn to be a primary target for Josh Freeman next year, but how many catches should we expect from him?
"More than 50," Benn said. "I don't want to say a set number. I don't want to put pressure on myself. But I look at myself making a big impact. That's why they drafted me."
It's very obvious that Benn and Williams have set some high expectations for themselves, both this year and down the road.
"I don't know if it will be this year or next year, but I expect to be a success in this league," Williams said. "I just want to earn playing time. I want to be one of those guys who my teammates say, 'When Mike is in there, he helps us win.'"
Another question Benn was asked was what he thought separated the good receivers from those who fail and how that applies to him.
"I think it's about who wants it more," Benn said. "I want it more than the next guy."
Benn's new teammate had the same thoughts on this question.
"All receivers think the same way," Williams said. "You don't think the other guy can check you. I'm running routes on air, so throw me the ball. That's my mentality, too. I think, 'There is no way they're stopping me on this play.'"
As I stated before, Benn is looking to prove that he can be a top wide receiver, and his disappointing career at Illinois was just a false impression.
Because he knows he has so much to offer, he was discontent with the outcome of the NFL draft.
"I should have been drafted in the middle of the first round," he said flatly. "I thought I was going to Denver. They drafted Demaryius Thomas. He's a big guy, but I thought I was going to go there."
Benn had a strong opinion in reply to Mike Williams’ comment in which he said that the “chip on his shoulder” was bigger than Benn’s.
"He said his chip is bigger than mine?" Benn said, laughing. "I don't think so. I've got a boulder. I've got a tractor-trailer up there."
Either way, both Williams and Benn need to prove that they are worthy of their picks.
One thing is for sure, people will need to keep a close eye on these two.
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