Even after winning a National Championship and being drafted in the first round in 2014, Kelvin Benjamin has somehow still flown under the radar. The Carolina Panthers knew that they desperately needed wide receiver help, and it’s beginning to look like they man have found their man.
Benjamin has been one of the bright spots in a disappointing Panthers offense this preseason. While Cam Newton has struggled, the 6-foot-5 receiver has been making leaping catches over defenders. His height and catching ability will make him an intriguing new target for Newton. Because this is a team with a relatively poor offensive line, Benjamin should be the first man Newton looks to while he is under pressure and looking to get the ball away quick.
The Panthers needed wide receiver help badly and knew that they needed to add someone in the draft. With the loss of Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Gin Jr, the the 28th overall pick has some big shoes to fill. So far this preseason Benjamin has eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. These are impressive numbers for rookie in is first three preseason games who many analysts consider to be a project.
Being 6-foot-5 and just over 240 pounds, Benjamin’s frame resembles that of All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson — not a bad player to be compared to. The one aspect that Benjamin lacks is speed after running just a 4.60 forty-yard dash at the combine this year. The Panthers are hoping that his athleticism, size and great catching ability can counter his below average speed.
From a fantasy football perspective, Benjamin could be a late-round steal, especially in a 12-team league where talent is harder to come by. Aside from Benjamin, the Panthers have Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery at wide receiver who are not exactly next-level playmakers. Look for Benjamin to get plenty of targets, help an inconsistent Carolina offense and put up some solid numbers in his rookie campaign.