Scouting Report: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Meet Mr. Upside
At Rotobahn, we love upside. That’s no news flash, and we’re surely not alone, but it relates to today’s player, Kelvin Benjamin, who has as much upside as any skill player in this year’s draft. After a long look at the former Seminole on film, we are convinced that he has all the talent you could ever need to play in the NFL. His game tape is reminiscent of both Anquan Boldin and Greg Little, two very physical receivers. In the end, we think Benjamin ends up somewhere within the statistical confines of these two players. One is on his way to the hall of fame, and the other is precariously close to unemployment.
We are betting on Benjamin out-performing Little (the nearly unemployed one), because we think he’s more talented and a bit more serious about his craft. He’s also bigger, which is saying something. Still, as with Little, Benjamin’s career will only go as far as his hands can take him. The rest of the 23-year old’s game is pretty much top shelf, but hands for a receiver are akin to location for a major league pitcher. You can have intoxicating stuff and a full compliment of pitches, but if you can’t find the plate, you end up in the dust bin.
Let’s take a closer look at Benjamin’s strengths.
- Size - At about six foot five and 235 pounds, Benjamin is an enormous receiver both in terms of height and weight. He’s a bigger matchup nightmare than Demaryius Thomas based on his size, which will be confirmed at the Combine.
- Speed - On film, he’s got more than enough speed, especially given his massive frame. He looks like he has roughly 4.50 wheels, but we’ll have hard numbers after the Combine. As long as he doesn’t run shockingly slow, he’s fine here.
- Ball skills - Just watch the highlight reels or most any game tape. There’s nobody out there who makes more absurd catches in traffic and in-flight than Benjamin. He can elevate and he’s already playing above the defenders as it is. He also shields defensive backs very effectively. Once Kelvin gets body position on a defender, he’s basically open regardless of the defender’s proximity. He is going to be a mismatch nightmare at the next level because he has a unique combination of attributes.
- Strength - It’s easy to see on film and we’ll have confirmation of this next week in Indianapolis. We expect Benjamin to put on a show in this area. Strength is important in all phases of the game, but especially when it comes to beating the jam and blocking. Benjamin definitely brings an element with his ability to block linebackers and bigger safeties. Again, it’s there on his film, and he can get better. Teams like San Francisco and Seattle are probably salivating at the chance to draft this kid, but he won’t get anywhere near them
It’s really easy to see why this player might be successful at the next level. The video I’ve chosen is a breakdown of Benjamin’s 2013 performance against the Gators. It’s really a perfect game to understand the full range of this player. You’ll see it all here ... the good and the bad.
The negatives are mostly limited to the hands, which are certainly related to concentration lapses and some correctable poor habits like not watching the ball all the way in and or looking for YAC before securing the ball. Some hard work and some good coaching could erase most of the problem. Not to say that either of those things is a given, but we see most of his drops as being correctable.
It’s also worth mentioning that some players of Benjamin’s ilk, like Terrell Owens, had higher drop rates than typical receivers. The big plays and the aggregate production outweighed the drops by a solid margin. The point being, Benjamin doesn’t need to be Fred Biletnikoff or Roddy White in terms of hands. He just needs to clean things up a bit and become more consistent.
The good news, for fantasy purposes, is that we’ll know where he’s playing before we have to place a final value on him. That value is going to have everything to do with Kelvin Benjamin’s upside. If he lands a starting job with a competent quarterback, his upside is that of a WR1. Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson was our upside receiver last year. Benjamin has a chance to be that guy in 2014, but he has more high-end competition than Cordarrelle did. We’ll be covering all of that competition in the coming weeks and months.
This scouting report will be updated after the Combine.
Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
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