The needs the Patriots should address are a big, physical wide receiver, a pass catching tight end, an OG/LT, a DT and a DE who can really pass rush. Technically, addressing the needs of OG/LT, DT or DE may be more important so the Patriots should trade down in the draft and acquire more picks to address those needs, but this is a mock draft, so there are no trades, and the Patriots do need a big receiver who can stretch the field, and if a receiver of Benjamin’s caliber is available at 29 they need to draft him.
The Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick may be interested in Benjamin because Belichick and six other members of the Patriots staff worked out the wide receiver who caught the game winning TD in the BCS Championship game.
Benjamin is 6’5″ and 240 pounds so his best asset is obviously his size. He looks like a prototypical wide receiver. He can help create mismatches and is a fantastic red zone target (just like Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski). QB Tom Brady and the Patriots could certainly use a wide receiver who is a matchup nightmare and can help in the red zone. Does Benjamin rely solely on his size? No, and that is a big part of what makes him dangerous. Sure, he isn’t the best route runner, but he does have some speed coming in and out of his breaks and he can definitely create some separation when running a route down the sideline. What happens on the rare occasions he doesn’t get separation? He climbs the ladder and he goes and gets the ball at its highest point. He has also shown the ability to come back to the ball when necessary and he has great body control.
As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Benjamin had 30 receptions for 495 yards and four touchdowns. In 2013, Benjamin had 54 receptions for 1,011 yards and set a Florida State single season record (and led the ACC) with 15 receiving touchdowns. Benjamin does need to work on the number of drops he has, but you have to assume Brady would work with him as much as needed and would demand that Benjamin put it the time to improve.
The Patriots have been missing a big, true number one receiver since Randy Moss left. The window, sadly, is closing on Brady’s career and the Patriots need to surround him with talent to help Brady and the Patriots win at least one more Super Bowl before Brady’s career is over. The ceiling for Benjamin, especially with Brady throwing to him, is incredibly high.
Benjamin was available in this mock draft so I grabbed him. If the Patriots do not trade down and Benjamin is available at 29 on May 8 when the real draft begins, the Patriots shouldn’t hesitate to do the same.