NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Kelvin Benjamin

With the NFL draft kicking off Thursday Night I will be posting a series previews of the top prospects from Florida State.

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Kelvin BenjaminDuring Florida State’s run to the 2013 BCS National Championship wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin proved to be one of the team’s major breakout players. A redshirt-sophomore Benjamin was second on the team with 1011 receiving yards and tied for second with 54 receptions. Benjamin led the ACC with 15 receiving touchdowns including the winning grab with 13 seconds remaining in the National Championship game.

The best game of Benjamin’s career came against the University of Florida in his final regular season game. Benjamin torched the Florida secondary for three touchdowns as he hauled in nine catches for 212 yards.

Benjamin declared for the NFL draft following the season as he chose to forgo his final two years of college eligibility. A freak athlete, he possess rare size at 6 feet 5 inches and 240 pounds, Benjamin is very raw as a wide receiver. He excels at vertical go routes and slants where his size creates mismatches for opposing corners (e.g. the championship clinching touchdown where he beat the undersized Chris Davis for a jump ball on a slant route). Outside of simple routes Benjamin will require time to develop. He also struggles with drops at times as could be seen during the Florida game when he dropped three passes.

Benjamin’s biggest strength is his sheer size and athleticism. His vertical jump was measured at 32.5 inches at the combine and when combined with his above-average height and weight he is a matchup nightmare for corners.  He has the ability to attack the ball at its highest point which increases his value as a red zone target as he is able to fight through tough coverage. Benjamin does not possess elite speed, he ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine, but he makes up for it with physicality as he require less-space to make a catch. This was evident on his first quarter touchdown catch against Clemson.

Benjamin showed considerable improvement during his time at Florida State and if he continues to develop he has the chance to be a dominate receiver in the NFL.

Projection:

Benjamin is expected to go in the second round of the NFL draft. The 2014 draft class is very deep at receiver with some analysts projecting as many as eight receivers to go in the first round. Benjamin has a chance to sneak into the late first round due to his athleticism and size, but he will not be a number one receiver to begin with. He will need time to develop.

Best fit:

The best fit for Kelvin Benjamin would be to land on a team with a stable wide receiver corps that is looking for a big play threat to put them over the edge. He has struggled with maturity issues at times and the presence of veteran players and a strong head coach would be an added bonus for him going forward. I think a perfect would be the Pittsburg Steelers. They have a strong head coach in Mike Tomlin, who attended FSU’s pro day, and a veteran leader at quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers also already have a number one receiver in Antonio Brown. He is undersized at five feet 10 inches adding to the value that Benjamin would bring to the team as a number two receiver.

By: Brandon O’Connor

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