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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 [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) 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.

RCPackerFan'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.

RCPackerFan'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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

RCPackerFan'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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