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Kelvin Benjamin Could Be the Big Target Packers Are Missing

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Kelvin Benjamin Could Be the Big Target Packers Are Missing

If Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans is off the board by the time the Green Bay Packers are on the clock in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft—and he very likely will—maybe the Packers will consider the next best thing.

While Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin doesn't have quite the same experience as Evans, he's nearly the same size and has an equally high ceiling.

"Evans and Benjamin are kind of today's flavor in the NFL, those 6' 5", 230-pound wide receivers, the back shoulder throws, outside the numbers in the red zone," said NFL Network Draft analyst Mike Mayock.

As long as Jermichael Finley remains a free agent, the Packers are missing the type of tall, downfield threat that can stretch the field and be a dangerous weapon in the aresenal of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Should Benjamin be available when the Packers have the 21st overall selection, he might make them think twice when trying to decide between filling a need on the defensive side of the football or adding some extra firepower to the offense.

Benjamin showed just how valuable he can be when he caught the game-winning touchdown from quarterback Jameis Winston with just 13 seconds remaining in the BCS National Championship win over Auburn this past season.

"It was a simple slant route," said Benjamin at the NFL Combine. "I knew Jimbo (Fischer) was coming back to me. Whenever there was a catch on the line or a touchdown on the line, he was coming back to me and it was a slant route. I knew (the defensive back) was thinking fade and so I tried to sell him on that fade route. Three steps out, I got inside of him and just did what I do best, which is attack it at the highest point."

Compared to other highly-rated college receivers like Davante Adams, who had 131 receptions this past season, or Brandin Cooks, who had 128, Benjamin didn't catch many passes. One reason for the lack of catches was a few too many dropped balls. The Seminoles wideout had just 54 receptions in 2013, but he managed to make each of them count.

Of the 54 passes Benjamin caught, they covered 1,011 yards, an average of 18.7 yards per catch.

"First, catching it, that was one of my problems," said Benjamin. "Seeing the yards before, I start to run and I wound up dropping the ball. That’s something I really have to work on. Once you catch it, you just have to keep moving, keep your legs going and get up field and everything else will take care of itself."

Benjamin also caught 15 touchdown passes, which led the ACC and ranked third nationally. Despite his efforts, Benjamin couldn't even crack the all-conference first team, but he probably will forget the oversight if a team recognizes his value and makes him a first round draft choice in May.

The Packers have no shortage of talent at the wide receiver position with players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and the up-and-coming Jarrett Boykin on the roster but lost some depth when James Jones departed in free agency last month.

At 23 years old and declaring for the NFL Draft after just his redshirt sophomore season, Benjamin might be lacking in experience, but he likes to think he's matured the past few years of his life.

"Just growing up and being a man," said Benjamin. "I’ve learned to do the things you have to do to be a man. Before I was basically just being a kid, doing kid things. Not putting in the work you need to put in to be a great receiver."

If Benjamin continues along the same path and trajectory he's been on since playing just three years of high school football, he just might just reach that "great receiver" category eventually.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Zoellner25's picture

Not in the first few rounds anyway.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I like Benjamin, just not in round 1. I think he will be a 2nd round pick. he kind of reminds me of Alshon Jeffrey, who was also a 2nd round pick.

If the Packers were to draft him, he would definitely bring something that no one else currently on the roster has, and that's tremendous size. He could be a huge target in the Redzone.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I was reading this interesting BR article a few days ago about "safe picks" and "reaching". Pretty much asking,"are safe picks really safe picks?" and,is it "reaching" for a guy you are really interested in? I believe BR (or some "expert" gave the Seahawks '12 draft grade an F. Any who,If the defensive player(s) we've all discussed/debated over isn't/aren't there @ 21 and if TT/MM has Benjamin graded as such or a tad bit below I wouldn't mind the pick.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Isn't that really the key to everything. How the teams themselves project and rank players.

We have a general idea of where a player should go, but we don't know how each team feels about a player.
Example: Bruce Irvin. Going into the 2012 draft most had him as a 2nd round pick. Seahawks took him with the 15th pick.
We don't know how teams feel about certain players. Its not reaching for a team if they project a player at that spot.

Birney the baker's picture

"Its not reaching for a team if they project a player at that spot."

It is if his name is Tony Mandarich and behind him sits Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders and Derrick Thomas. lol

Tom Birney "the baker"

4thand1's picture

T M is a perfect example of overhyping a player. I remember everyone oooing and awwwwing over that oversized steroid freak. I was one of them. Like nobody knew he was juiced up, hell his nickname at MSU was the DR. That was tuuurible scouting.

Birney the baker's picture

lol.. yeah, a lot of people got taken in with all the hype about him. I was hoping for Barry Sanders but he already said (well his Dad said) he wasn't coming here no matter what so I didn't want another Bruce Clark situation getting nobody. I can see why GB pulled the trigger though. They needed help on the o-line and Tony was our savior. I think Tony Soprano would have been a better pick. lol Oh well, evey team has one of these picks. As Tony Soprano would say, "what can you do?"

Tom Birney "the baker"

4thand1's picture

Funny how shit works out. Barry quit in Detroit because they only won 1 playoff game. Packers hired Ron Wolfe, he got Favre and the Pack has been winning ever since. Sucks to be a Lions' fan, lmao.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

4thand1, I really think Ron Wolfe gets way too much credit for getting Brett Favre. I'm not saying he shouldn't get some credit, but he's been made out to be a Genius for that trade. Personally, I think he Lucked Out more than anything else. Ron Wolfe took Brett Favre for 1 & only 1 reason. He thought Florida State was the next best thing to the Second Coming. BF beat Florida State at Southern Miss. That's why Wolfe thought he was Great. By his own admission, he didn't think Favre would last 5 yr's. His pick of Jamal Renolds takes the Genius title away, along with Buckley, Bubba Franks, & a few others. I give him credit for trading for Favre, & as it turned out, Wolfe became a Genius for it. He was far from it in my opinion. Reggie White is the guy who put the SB team together. He's the guy that got the players to come to GB. I know, I'm going to get jumped on for this, but Wolfe had too many Bad Picks to be called a Genius. JMO

Stroh's picture

Couldn't disagree more Tom... That years draft Wolf was on record as saying he thought Favre was the best player in the entire draft. Wolf was w/ the NYJ at the time and didn't have a 1st rd pick, he thought Favre was the #1 overall player that year IIRC. He stood by and watched as the 1st rd unfolded and no one was taking Favre. He had the 35th pick that year I think w/ NY. Favre ended up going a pick or two before Wolf took Browning Nagle. He said after he was hired and traded for Favre that he actually regretted not moving up to take Favre. When he was hired the next year to be the GM for the Packers, he knew he needed a franchise QB and Favre was already out of favor in Atl cuz he pissed off Jerry Glanville and in his doghouse. Favre was too busy partying and not putting in the study time Glanville thought he should.

His first order of business was to do anything it took to get Favre. He pried him out of Atl by giving up a 1st rd pick (Packers had 2 1st). He gave Atl a higher pick than they used to draft Favre.

The reason that people were afraid Favre wouldn't last 5 yrs was the fact he was in a car accident and lost 2/3 of his Small Intestines and the fact that people were afraid that would affect his longevity in the NFL (along w/ possibly drinking himself out of the league). And the fact that he failed his physical (due to having Necrosis in his hip a degenerative disease) after the trade to GB. Wolf agreed to the trade anyway. Wolf knew all that, could have backed out of the trade and still gave up a 1st rd pick to get him.

Favre had legendary toughness and leadership which was shown by leading Southern Miss to a come from behind win over Alabama his Sr yr, besides beating Fl St earlier, 6 wks after almost losing his life in that car accident. Wolf loved Favres arm talent and experience (Favre was also a 4 year starter in college) so he had a lot of big game experience in college. During his time at Southern Miss, he beat 2 of the best college programs in the country.

Wolf called Favre the best QB prospect he had ever seen.

The Reynolds pick was Sherman's since Wolf had already announced his retirement after the draft and Sherman had been announced his successor. Wolf acted only as an advisor to Sherman leading up to the draft, since Sherman had no experience running a draft room. So that pick was made by Sherman. Either way Wolf had his share of 1st round mistakes Buckley over Troy Vincent among them. But he didn't luck into Favre. He thought he was going to be a Great QB from scouting him for NYJ, and he MADE it his business to get Favre at all costs.

Buckley and John Micheals were his biggest busts. Bubba Franks was a 3 time Pro Bowler, so saying he was a bust isn't very fair.

Wolf also had the foresight to hire a Great HC, that was a QB guru who helped Favre become the player he was. Wolf was a brilliant GM and should be in the NFL HOF some day, even tho very few Front Office guys ever make it.

Have to disagree about Ron Wolf... One of the best GM's in the NFL, possibly among the best ever.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

I disagree with your assessment, but that's what this board is all about. Hindsight is 20/20. I think you give way too much credit to Wolfe, & not enough credit to BF. Wolfe certainly wasn't a Genius at the NYJ. Without Favre, I doubt very much whether he would have done any better in GB. I give him credit for trading for BF, but I don't for a second believe he could see BF'S future. It was the Florida State game, & maybe Alabama, but Wolfe was obcessed with FS. You can say Jamal Renolds wasn't his pic, but he was involve every bit of the way. One of the worst pics in history. Buckley at least played, but was no good, & Bubba Franks was a terrible TE. Like Finley, he couldn't catch a cold. He made the Pro Bowl because Favre use to throw him 3 yd touchdown passes. Those he caught. He was a Blocker, that was about it. Chamera could have put him in his back pocket. I respect your opinion on this one, but I disagree. BF was a Good QB prospect, That's why Atlanta took him. He made a lot of people look good, including Wolfe, & I give Wolfe his share of credit for taking him, but that's all. No one saw BF's future, including Wolfe. He, IMO, goes along for the ride. He never did it before, or again. I stop way short of calling him a Genius.

Birney the baker's picture

LVT, nothing wrong with disagreeing with windbag. Pretty much says your right because everything this guy says is wrong. He's a lot of hot air isn't he? lol

Tom Birney "the baker"

4thand1's picture

Its not a coincidence that the Packers were the winningest sports franchise in the 90's. Someone has to get the credit.

Stroh's picture

Personally I give Wolf, Holmgren and Favre equal credit.

LV Tom... Look at it like this. Favre was drafted #33 overall. After being drafted, he got into Glanvilles doghouse, drank far too much, paid too little attention to football and failed his physical in GB. Those are all things that would dramatically lower Favre's value to other teams and his asking price in trade. Wolf still gave up the #19 overall pick to get him. If Wolf wasn't completely convinced of Favre's ability to be a Great QB, he easily could have negotiated Atl to the Packers 2nd rd pick #34 possibly even down to our 3rd #62. Yet he didn't take any chances and made sure he got him using #19.

Everything I've ever read, says Wolf placed a VERY high premium on getting Favre.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

I would agree more with your 1st statement, only I would put Wolf at the end of those 3, & BF 1st. I'm not a big fan of BF's, but he has to be given the credit for GB's success in the 90's, not Ron Wolf. As I said, Wolf was nuts over Florida State, that's why we picked Jamal Reynolds. You can say it was Shermans pick, but Wolf was behind it. No one will ever know, but had BF not beat FS, we may never have seen him. I give Wolf credit for making the trade for BF. I do not think anyone could have forseen his 16 years with GB. I think Ron Wolf was a Good GM., & BF made him look even better. Wolf said a lot of things, after the fact. His pick of Jamal Renolds was so bad, it defies explanation. I'm sure most people would agree with you. I respect your opinion, I just disagree with it. I wouldn't call TT the Greatest of all Time for choosing AR, but he gets a lot of Credit for doing so. I think Ron Wolf traded for a guy that turned out to be 1 of the best QB's of all time. I think TT may have done some what the same thing. Could either one see it before hand?? I doubt it very much. JMO

Birney the baker's picture

LVT, quit playing politics with Strohkingoff. Just tell him he's an idiot and he's wrong like he usually is. Everyone knows that Jamal Reynolds was Ron Wolf's pick not Shermans. The only moron who believes that is the one guy who's never right and of course that's Mr. Strohkinoff.

Tom Birney "the baker"

Stroh's picture

I already posted about the Favre trade on the Flynn thread to I won't waste the space here. Re: Jamal Reynolds... Wolf had told Harlan he was retiring before the draft. As a favor to Harlan, Wolf stayed on to help Sherman run the draft that year, since Sherman had no experience in the FO and running a draft. But think for a second... Who do you think is going to have last say on the draft pick that year? THe GM who had announced he was retiring and only stay to assist an inexperienced GM? Or his successor who was going to have to live w/ the draft pick, not too mention coach him? It seems pretty obvious that Sherman had final say due to those facts.

No doubt Wolf made a mistake w/ Buckley over Troy Vincent, but to extrapolate that Wolf had an obsession w/ Florida St players, just doesn't fly.

Birney the baker's picture

Show me your facts that you love to call everyone else on. Show me that Ron Wolf didn't select Jamal "too small" Reynolds. I need proof. So Wolf just sat back twiddling his thumbs right? lol LVT called you out and so am I. You don't have a clue what you are talking about. The only thing I can say you are an expert on is making up fake names and rating your posts positive when it suits your selfish needs. lol

Tom Birney "the baker"

Nick Perry's picture

He won't make it past the 28th pick, depending upon if Lee is still on the board when Carolina picks. Otherwise I could see the Niners, New England, or Seattle drafting this guy.

Just read where the guy didn't show up for a NFL workout because he was "Tired". Are you F'ing serious dude!!! Not the way to get drafted in the first round Kelvin, especially by the Packers.

Nick Perry's picture

LOL...So much for my high praise of this kid after that.

4thand1's picture

Not smart, he just cost himself a lot of money if its true. Teams are sick of diva WR's.

Nick Perry's picture

You're right 4th and one and this guy could have hands like Spider-Man, which he doesn't, not yet anyways. Thompson wouldn't go near him unless he dropped to at least the 3rd round which he won't. I really think Carolina takes him. The have NO WR's at this point. Just so the Niners don't draft him.

tm_inter's picture

Kelvin Benjamin is overrated - he's not that sure-handed, has dropped too many balls. If the Packers are looking for very tall WRs there's Brandon Coleman who is 6-6 and projected to be drafted in the 4-5th round. Other tall WRs are Cody Hoffman, 6-4, projected 6-7th round, and L'Damian Washington, 6-4, projected 7th round.

Stroh's picture

Agree about Benjamin. No way I would use a 1st on him. Packers have Jordy at 6'3, same as Alshon Jeffrey, and Boykin at 6'2, so its not like the lack size at WR. Get a potentially Great WR if they take one, not just one that's tall IMO. Preferrably after Rd 1.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I agree more with you. I don't see him as a 1st rounder. if he was more sure handed yes. But he dropped a lot of balls.
I wouldn't take him in the 1st round, however I would take him in the 2nd round. That to me is where his value is.

I agree too. Coleman is 6'6 and would be a good addition and you should be able to get him in the 4th round area.

Another big WR is Martavis Bryant is another. He is projected to be a 2nd-3rd round pick. He is 6'4. He reminds me of AJ Green. His build is similar and I see a similar type of game to him.

4thand1's picture

Jerry Rice wasn't 6'7". Nuff said

4thand1's picture

LOL, some clown doesn't like Rice not being 6' 7"

Nick Perry's picture

It's not about being tall, but it's a plus. It depends which draft site you're looking at too, Scout.com has Benjamin as the 4th best receiver in this draft. There's some posters on here that like Moncrief, Beckham or Matthews, all 3 would be great picks for the Packers. I think the Packers take one before the end of day 2 and wouldn't doubt Ted moves up in the 3rd to get one of his guys.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Totally agree. We have an extra 3rd,right?

Since we seem to go shotgun/spread a lot of the time in the redzone adding a 6'4 - 6'6 WR in the mix just might keep a cb AND safety away from the play. 2 less tacklers to worry about.

Handsback's picture

There will be lots of WR prospects that TT looks at and can take in the later rounds. One position I could see TT pull the trigger on is if a top OT player drops.

Still think it's a defensive draft in the high rounds.

4thand1's picture

BAP, BAP, BAP. TT will NOT draft for need this draft. If Evans was there at 21, TT drafts him.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I can see that happening. Not taking Evans,but taking a player that's not necessarily a need. TT would REALLY have to hit in the 2nd and 3rd (2) round though.

sunshinepacker's picture

Oh please no...why would the Packers spend a first round pick on slow WR with suspect hands that can't run good routes? You can find tall receivers in lots of places in the draft.

Nick Perry's picture

Benjamin is coming out a year to early IMO. He's still just really young which he showed everyone by blowing off a workout with a NFL coach. The kid will be a star one day though.

4thand1's picture

Which translates to , "he blows".

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