The Panthers made wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin their first-round pick earlier this month and General Manager Dave Gettleman said Wednesday that Benjamin was more appealing to them than some other receiving prospects because of his size.
Gettleman also said the team wasn’t turned off by negative reports about Benjamin’s character. Wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl and Gettleman both spent time with Benjamin during the pre-draft process and “felt very good about him as a person” when the meetings came to an end.
Gettleman felt good about Benjamin as a player too. Ross Tucker of Sirius XM NFL Radio asked Gettleman about people comparing Benjamin to Brandon Marshall and the former Giants executive responded with the name of a player he used to watch closely in New Jersey while adding a bit of text speak to a lexicon that already includes “blue goose” and “hog molly.”
“When I watched him, I thought I was watching a young Plaxico [Burress],” Gettleman said. “He’s a better athlete than people realize, he plays faster than a lot people think and he made some ‘OMG’ catches in the rookie minicamp. He’s talented, he has good focus, he learns well and it’s important to him. It’s really important to him.”
Burress generated a few character red flags over the course of his career, but he also generated a lot of catches, yards and touchdowns for the Steelers and Giants before bringing things to a halt with a self-inflicted gunshot to the leg. They’ll want Benjamin to steer clear of that fate, but the Panthers would surely be happy with Burress’ on-field production.