CLEVELAND – They say that speed kills. In the case of Travis Benjamin, his quickness and agility may be just the cure for an other-wise stagnant Browns offense in need of some life.
Benjamin, a 5’11, 175-pound wide receiver drafted 100th overall in the fourth round out of the University of Miami (FL), his blazing 4.36 speed was evident during the Cleveland Browns 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Benjamin would have two catches for 46 yards on three targets—highlighted by a 34-yard over-the-shoulder grab down the left sideline from quarterback Brandon Weeden.
The former Hurricane would also display his versatility on special teams by returning two kicks for 55 yards.
While Benjamin would make a strong case for the No. 3 wide receiver spot opposite Greg Little and Mohamed Massaqoui, fellow rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon did not help himself.
Gordon, whom the Browns would use a 2013 second round pick on in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, would show that he is still a work in progress, and raw at best.
The 6’4, 220-pound former Baylor standout would have zero receptions on three targets.
Benjamin’s solid performance, in addition to Gordon’s lackadaisical effort, gives Benjamin an inside track to start over Gordon.
It also causes many to ask what happened to the player who was once said to be the second coming of Randy Moss?
While it is only pre-season, one cannot help but wonder if Gordon is the by-product of media hype and fan speculation.
During the game, he would show bad footwork, difficulty getting off the line and the ability to gain separation. Gordon would also show an inability to run a tight route, which may be cause for some concern.
Gordon would also show that from a mental standpoint that he is not in “game shape”.
In defense of Gordon,what may be the case is that due to his off-the-field issues with marijuana, he is a project at best. Being out for the entire 2011 season is another factor that may slow his development into a NFL-ready receiver.
While he has the physical tools and talent, Gordon will have to show immediate improvement on the road against the Green Bay Packers.
With the recent head injury to Massaqoui, Benjamin and Gordon both have a chance to make an impact and contribute to the Browns offense in 2012-13.
If Friday’s game against the Lions is any early indication, it would not surprise anyone if Benjamin secures the No. 3 wide receiver slot in Cleveland.
Robert D. Cobb is the NBA Network Manager for Rant Media Network, Featured Writer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Featured Columnist for the Cleveland Browns and Arsenal Gunners.
In addition to covering the NBA, I also cover MLB, NFL, NHL and Champions League soccer news, rumors and opinions, please follow me on Twitter at @RobertCobb_76