« Who's left for the Panthers on Day 2 of the draft? | Main | Panthers move Charles Godfrey from safety to corner »

May 09, 2014

Film review: What Kelvin Benjamin brings to Carolina

After watching four games of tape on Kelvin Benjamin, there’s plenty to like and plenty to wish for in the Panthers’ first-round receiver.

Benjamin, at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, was a dominant college football player despite playing just two seasons. Perhaps because of that, though, Benjamin still has some things he needs to work on.

Game tape from FSU vs. Clemson, Duke, Florida and N.C. State shows Benjamin likes to jump for passes, can secure the ball without his chest, runs OK routes, is a good blocker when engaged, has a case of the drops and has great football speed.

There are two highlights you will see from Benjamin’s redshirt sophomore season with the Seminoles. Let’s go ahead and get those out of the way.

This incredible catch against Clemson can be played on a loop for teams looking to draft a short corner.


This touchdown against Florida is a microcosm of the Gators miserable 2013 season.

Benjamin likes to jump for passes, and a lot of times doing that ensures you snag the ball before the defensive back does but you then give up your speed. One thing wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl will impress upon Benjamin is to stay on the ground, use late hands and catch the ball in a fluid motion to have an opportunity at yards after the catch.

(Click the links for videos, most of which come from DraftBreakdown.com.)

The Panthers lost their best blocking receiver in Brandon LaFell. He was good at it because he could engage his blocker or spontaneously pick one up. If Benjamin knows he’s going to block you, he can sometimes downright embarrass an opponent. But other times on tape he looked lost.

There’s no better example of how “meh” and how good he can be in blocking than these back-to-back clips.

Sometimes there’s a fear with big receivers that they will trap the ball with their chest. Benjamin has hands, and he can use them. For as great as his tape is from the Florida game--and Dave Gettleman called it "spectacular"--it also shows three really bad drops and a touchdown that shouldn’t have counted because of an obvious hold.

In four games, Benjamin had six drops. One led to an interception and five were inexcusable.

A big knock on Benjamin is if he can deal with being jammed at the line in the NFL. Well, he’s never before played in the NFL, and the defenses he played against in these tapes were playing coverage softer than a baby’s bottom. It's difficult to discern if he has trouble with jams.

Another knock is his speed. People want to compare him to Calvin Johnson because of his body but he doesn’t have that last gear, as evidenced by his 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine.

Not so fast.

Everyone knows football speed is different than straight-line speed. Florida DB Loucheiz Purifoy ran an identical 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine. Look at the separation Benjamin got on this route.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on May 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM | Permalink


Spot on review

Posted by: Boombot | May 9, 2014 12:09:27 PM

Great breakdown. Loving this pick.

Posted by: emlit | May 9, 2014 12:33:30 PM

If anyone can improve the rookie's skills is Ricky Proehl. He was total clutch. Third best receiver we ever had.

Posted by: Russ Liachoff | May 9, 2014 12:36:38 PM

Shutdown Corner hates our pick. Hope they are wrong....

Posted by: Hotspur | May 9, 2014 12:54:25 PM

i love the click against NCSU where he pancakes a dude on a crack back and then stands there celebrating it while the play continues.

I HATE criticizing this dude because i hope he's a stud. he has absolutely insane expectations set up by not being the guy to replace/upgrade lafell but being the guy to save our receiving corps. as a rookie. when we should have been contending for a super bowl.

no matter how you peg it. this is a step back. and we didn't save money swapping smith/hixon for cotchery/avant. swapping benjamin for lafell is FINE by me. lafell was an elite run blocker and a SOLID #2 receiver. I think this kid could be that. let's keep in mind we got lafell in the 3rd round.

instead of upgrading our weaknesses, we weakened them or made lateral moves. it's really depressing.

Posted by: charlottean | May 9, 2014 12:56:27 PM

I don't like this pick. Benjamin seems like he has a big chance to be "Dwayne Jarrett 2.0." Big body, athleticism and hands. But not speed, mediocre route running, lazy (takes alot of plays off), and not very intelligent (he was retained two grades prior to FSU). He's too raw and he doesn't seem to have a motor or work ethic. There were better choices at receiver.

Posted by: PantherD | May 9, 2014 12:57:50 PM

Should have drafted Marquise Lee (USC) or Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt). They were more polished, experienced, and productive.

Posted by: PantherD | May 9, 2014 1:01:52 PM

I was sort of disappointed in the pick. He had a well below average combine across the board in all categories for a Wide receiver, I think he is a better fit as a tight end than a 1st round WR. He definitely does not have the down field speed to cause separation. He will be a valuable target in the end zone, but first we have to go down the field to get there. I wish our front office would have the guts to trade up once in a while as did the Saints last night with Arizona and picked up a burner in Brandon Cooks at a cost of hardly anything. All that trade did was give Brees another weapon to chew apart secondaries, especially our patch worked secondary in the making.

Posted by: Richie Rich | May 9, 2014 1:06:24 PM

I'm kind a leery about Benjamin, too. Lets see what Proehl does with him before we start giving knocks.

Posted by: Big Rob | May 9, 2014 1:12:56 PM

I like the pick!

Posted by: Chuck | May 9, 2014 1:20:24 PM

This was NOT a good move. I see another Dwayne Jarrett. Prefer Marquise Lee.

Posted by: par404 | May 9, 2014 1:48:16 PM

Panther D says.."Should have drafted Marquise Lee (USC) or Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt). They were more polished, experienced, and productive." So you dont want the champion WR who is 6'5. but would rather have the SEC floormatt WR (Matthew) and an injured, small WR who only had good stats when he had a QB?!?!?! OH AND NO ONE ELSE IN ROUND 1 WANTED THEM?!?!?!?!

Posted by: Mintstreetstandup | May 9, 2014 1:52:27 PM

The entire draft is picked on potential... i'd rather go with a 6'5 WR who only has 6 yrs exp and caught the winning pass in the FBS championship game defended by and SEC corner. Remember steve smith was just a 3rd round kick returner.... he was deemed too small to be a no 1. Give Kelvin a chance to learn the game. his size allows him to be in the red zone package from day 1.

Posted by: Mintstreetstandup | May 9, 2014 1:57:05 PM

I like the pick and we will pick a receiver in the 2nd round too. Real fans believe and Stans are just plan idiots and Panther fans we have a lot of Stans!!!Go Panthers!!!

Posted by: Panthercraze | May 9, 2014 2:00:32 PM

FIVE teams passed over Lee from 25-31 (San Fran, Philly, KC and NE) yet people crying over Lee..... Lee was a product of the SYSTEM.... Benjamin will be our Keyshawn Johnson while we let Underwood or another rookie fight it out to be Wayjne Chrebet.

Posted by: Mintstreetstandup | May 9, 2014 2:04:56 PM

Good pick. Panthers always could move the ball from the 20 to the 20 then kick a FG. Now we have a legit RED ZONE go to Guy. 6'5 passing to a 6'5... Really?!

Posted by: SFC ROB | May 9, 2014 2:12:17 PM

My worthless two cents. This pick is perfect for the offense the panthers will have this year. I'm convinced it's going to be a short to intermediate passing game. More runs to chew the clock. Occasional home balls to Underwood and less so Avant. Then have the defense shut down the other side. Nothing sexy but win like 14-10, 21-14. Like Rivera said, they are looking to make up 10 catches a game.

Posted by: Mike | May 9, 2014 3:31:56 PM

For the offense we will have this year, KB fits the system. Cam tends to throw high, has a bit of trouble with his accuracy. KB gives him a big target and can overwhelm the smaller DB's. Other teams will have to respect his size. Can't have this stud catching the ball and running loose in the back field, YAC's anyone? No eight in the box means doing what the Cats do best, Run Forest Run. I see it giving us a more balanced attack and damn right lethal in the Red Zone.

Posted by: Ron | May 9, 2014 4:37:07 PM

Is anyone concerned KB won't be able to learn the play book because he's not too bright? I guess you don't have to e too smart to catch a pass, but you do have to know the plays.

Posted by: Wonderlick | May 9, 2014 5:11:42 PM

@mintstreetstandup- as a Panthers fans, I hope KB succeeds. But he's got too many faults. Laziness, low intelligence, and mediocre speed are not good traits. And even with a great QB at FSU, KB still didn't have great consistent numbers, but made occasional highlight reel plays while taking a lot of plays off. Matthews and Lee had great numbers against great competition and are far better route runners. I'll happily eat my words if wrong, but I see a potential bust, ala Dwayne Jarrett who is built just like and had a very similar personality to KB. And oh yeah- Jarrett won TWO national championships.

Posted by: PanthersD | May 9, 2014 5:44:32 PM

6 drops in 4 straight games?? High risk high reward with a first rounder

Posted by: Merle | May 9, 2014 6:16:30 PM

I happened to see pretty much every FSU game. Those who say that he's not that smart need to understand that he was held back as a child...not in high school. Also, he improved dramatically from year to year in route running, hand strength, and speed. His coach has praised him for his work ethic over the last summer. You trolls don't have any idea about how far this kid has come in only 6 yrs of football. Go watch all of the games again. His routes and production actually got better as the year go along. I've been a Panther's fan for 11 years and I swear that we have some of the most pessimistic fans. Go be Falcon or Redskin fans. #KeepPounding

Posted by: E | May 9, 2014 6:26:49 PM

Good to see this guy --we needed receivers since Ricky Proel and Muhsin reitred and Smitty was not playing very good for years. I used to cry for receivers every season and nothing absolutely nothing till now. Unbelievable.

Posted by: mac | May 10, 2014 8:19:58 AM

E - that's not what troll means. not even close. Fair enough on the intelligence assessment......it's a red flag either way, but he doesn't appear to be an idiot as you would think for somebody held back twice.

I saw a few of FSU games this past year and didn't notice him. that alone is alarming to me for a first rounder. I mean that's supposed to be the guys that jump off the screen and dominate college games. even the developmental first rounders are guys that dominated at that level. His film just looks like he bullied his way through younger guys.

I love the idea of getting an elite talent at DE in ealy to make hardy expendable......but we're 4 rounds in without a tackle. and we now have 5 solid safeties. I mean those are good picks for the future no doubt, and you never want to be overly short sighted. but doing what has been done to a 12-4 team with key players in their prime? it just seems absolutely backwards. like we're playing for 2015 and taking 2014 off.

are we going to role with bell/silatolu/khalil/turner or kugbila/williams as our starting 5? without much depth?

seems like we could have used that 4th rounder on stevie johnson or a comparable young receiver who needs some guidance. let cotchery and avant earn their money that way. but i mean....what do i know. i'm not the genius dave gettleman.

congratulations to fellow charlottean walter aikens junior. would have looked better in a carolina jersey. so close.

Posted by: charlottean | May 10, 2014 2:15:31 PM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | May 10, 2014 7:25:49 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.