Kelvin Benjamin: I’m Not Looking to Take Steve Smith’s Spot

Kelvin Benjamin
Former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was selected by the Carolina Panthers at No. 28. Here is what he had to say about becoming a Panther.

RE: When he got a sense the Panthers were high on him during the pre-draft process

I think after the private workout and then when I came up and I met the coaches and met everybody in the organization. I fell in love with it myself.


RE: How long he has been a Panthers fan

When Cam (Newton) got there. That’s who I played with on Madden. I was a big fan. I always dreamed of coming in there and playing with Cam and just coming in and contributing to the organization.


RE: His strengths as a player

Just being a physical receiver. Going up and getting the ball at the highest point, dominate on the blocking, and just coming out and being a game-changer.


RE: Where he was watching the draft

I was with my family in the family house. I had fun with it. I had butterflies. I was nervous, but I had fun.


RE: Who called him from the Panthers and what was said

There were multiple calls. Really they just told me “are you ready to be a Panther?” And I told them “yes.”


RE: Where he sees himself in the Panthers wide receiving corps

Just getting in and learning from the guys. I can learn a lot from them. They’ve been through what I’m going through. I just want to get there and be the best player I can be.


RE: How good he and Cam Newton can be together

There’s no limit to it, we just have to get there and get that connection down and work as a team and just grind together…


RE: How exciting is it to come to a team looking for a “receiver of the future” and a “guy to take Steve Smith’s spot”

I’m not looking at it like taking Steve Smith’s spot. I’m a big fan of Steve Smith. He is a great receiver in my book. I’m just coming in there to do something like he did. Come in be the best player like he was, come in and be the best player that I can be. I’m a big fan of Steve Smith.


RE: What it was been like to ascend to a first round draft choice

I was nervous, but at the same time I just put my trust in God and put my trust in the organizations. Whatever team fell in love with me I’m just going to come in and play and put my heart into that organization.


RE: What he likes about Cam Newton

I’ve never met him in person, but you can just tell how he plays that he likes to win. He loves to win. And competing, you can tell he competes. That’s all you can ask from a football player, to compete at the highest level, and I think Cam does that and I’ll love to play with him.


RE: What he can learn from wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl

A lot. He was on a great receiving corps in St. Louis. We’ve built a relationship over the time that we’ve been talking on the phone. He can teach me a lot with getting off the ball, even coming off and being more physical, going to get the ball. I feel like he can show me a lot.


RE: How the Panthers plan to use him in the offense

We haven’t gotten into that yet. They just told me the news and I’m just very excited right now. My family is just celebrating.


RE: Why he decided to stay at home instead of attending the Draft in New York

I’m a real humble guy. I’m not really a red carpet type of guy. I keep to myself. I’m a big family guy and I just really wanted to be with my family. I didn’t want to choose certain people out of my family to take up there.


RE: If he is coming to Charlotte on Friday

Yeah, I know I do come tomorrow.


RE: Where he is in terms of his development as a wide receiver

I’m young and I have a lot of improvement I can make, a lot I can learn. I’m a young receiver, I’ve only been playing the game for probably, I would say what, five years at the most? I’m coming to a great organization.


RE: What he knows about Charlotte

I know I’ve played some ACC games there. I know it’s a nice city. I really don’t know that much about it, but I’m ready to get up there and learn and meet the fans and meet the people around the city and get into the environment.


RE: What made him a fan of Cam Newton

I think just his competitiveness, his will to compete and win. That’s something (Florida State quarterback) Jameis (Winston) had. That’s something that I love with a quarterback and I’d go out and do anything for him.


RE: If it will be a pretty easy transition to move from Jameis Winston as his quarterback to Cam Newton as his quarterback

I think so for the most part. We were a pro-style offense and they run a pro-style offense. I think for the most part it will be. I just have to get in there and learn and really put the work in and that’s what I plan on doing.

SOURCE: Florida State Athletics