The wait is over. Former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is officially a member of the Carolina Panthers who picked him with the 28th overall pick. Benjamin chose to declare for the NFL draft following his redshirt-sophomore season, forgoing his final two year of college eligibility.
A physically intimidating receiver at 6 feet 5 inches and 240 pounds Benjamin burst onto the scene during his final season at FSU. He finished second on the team with 1011 yards on 54 receptions. He also finished with an ACC leading 15 touchdown reception including the winning grab in the national championship.
Benjamin is a raw receiver and he will need time to grow as a player, but his physical tools offer him the chance to be a very productive player at the next level. A four-star recruit coming out of high school (according to Rivals.com) Benjamin was listed as the eighth best receiver in the country behind such players as Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham Jr.
A product of Belle Glade, Florida, Benjamin redshirted his freshman year before breaking into the receiver rotation as a redshirt-freshman catching 30 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns. Benjamin was one of the breakout candidates heading into last season for FSU and he didn’t disappoint showing improvements in every area of his game. His biggest area of growth was learning to attack the ball at the highest point which allows him to dominate with his above-average height and 32.5 inch vertical.
Benjamin finished his career at FSU with 84 receptions for 1506 yards and 19 touchdowns. Benjamin will be tasked with replacing Steve Smith who left to join the Baltimore Ravens during free agency. The Panthers are scarce on wide receivers and Benjamin will have to step into the number one position from day one. He has the potential to be a star in the NFL based solely on his size, but he will have to improve as a route runner and overall player.
By Brandon O’Connor