2014 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers Strike Gold With Selection of WR Kelvin Benjamin
With the Carolina Panthers‘ wide receiving corps being practically depleted over the offseason, general manager Dave Gettleman ditched a need on the offensive line, rather selecting playmaking Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with the 28th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Simply put, Gettleman continued to display a solid draft track record in his second season by tabbing Benjamin.
Mock drafts around the web slated Benjamin in a variety of spots, but the Panthers have to consider themselves fortunate they found a reliable option on the outside for franchise quarterback Cam Newton this late in the first round. This is largely due to the fact that Benjamin has the skill set and measurables to succeed in the NFL and have an illustrious career for quite some time. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds, the Florida native has the prototypical size to attack the ball at its highest point and protect himself in traffic against hard-hitting safeties and cornerbacks.
After only registering four touchdowns and a little less than 500 yards receiving, the wide receiver’s draft stock skyrocketed during the 2013 season, totaling over 1,000 yards with 15 touchdowns. Most notably, the way he ended the season makes one believe he is on the cusp of being the next breakout NFL wide receiver. Benjamin scored 10 touchdowns in the last six games, including a 212-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Florida Gators. And of course, you can’t forget the play he made on the game-winning touchdown drive to secure the 2014 National Championship for the Seminoles.
Benjamin’s speed doesn’t match up with his ideal height (he ran a 4.61 40-yard dash), but the Panthers are in dire need of possession wide receiver. Without a doubt, the sky is the limit for the wideout, but it’ll be up to Benjamin to make the most out of the opportunity.