Panthers got their big man in Kelvin Benjamin


One of the quickest picks of the first round last night came when the Panthers ran to the podium to take Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin 28th overall.

With their need at the position, it was similar to last year’s sprint to select defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.

And like that pick, Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said the opportunity was simply too big to ignore.

You can’t teach 6-5, 240 with a 34-inch arm length and 10-inch hands,” Gettleman said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “This guy has unusual ball skills. He’s got what we call a very big strike zone.”

Benjamin has plenty of big-game experience, with the last-minute, game-winning touchdown in the BCS title game, a play on which was obviously drawn up for him.

“I said, ‘you knew and everybody else in that stadium knew the ball was going to you and you were going to catch it,’” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “He said, ‘I wasn’t going to let the quarterback down.’ I loved that confidence. And I love the fact that he had his quarterback’s back.”

Now Cam Newton has a big weapon, and the Panthers have something to work with. Benjamin’s still a raw prospect, but Panthers receivers coach Ricky Prohel is there in part to mold young wideouts, and they brought in veterans Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery to be stable ponies as much as starters.

The work with Benjamin will begin now, and now the Panthers can continue to work on the rest of their holes (such as the offensive line and secondary) as the draft continues.


30 responses to “Panthers got their big man in Kelvin Benjamin

  1. Reach of a pick. This guy had a 2nd-3rd round grade and Marqise Lee was still on the board. So even when the Panthers make the right choice(drafting a WR) they still made a mistake.

  2. Bradley Roby was there… A few worth offensive linemen were there. WR is deep this year and they could get a good one in the second round. Bad pick. All I’ve heard about him other than how big he is is how lazy he is… Mike Williams USC version 2.0?

  3. Having Avant in that locker room could play out big for the Panthers in terms of the development of Benjamin. If there’s ever a guy you’d like to have around to teach a young guy how to play and behave like a professional, it’s Avant. He’ll honestly more than likely play a bigger role off the field for them in the locker room than anything he’s still capable of doing on the field.

  4. Yeah, I’m not believing in Benjamin at least not right away. Maybe he develops but he’s certainly not an immediate impact guy. Panthers have taken a major step backwards this offseason.

  5. Move the sticks with Olsen and Cotchery, then throw it up to KB in the redzone. I’ll take that scenario all day.

    Cam has been known to throw it a little high for the past 3 years to a certain 5’9″ receiver. Again, I think this pick makes all the sense in the world.

  6. i was hoping the jets would trade back into the first round for him. sanchez tossed 27 tds one year largely due to having plaxico burress. burress was basically worthless except in the redzone where he caught 8 tds. his size made him unguardable. if sanchez/burress can be somewhat productive, then i imagine newton/benjamin can do it as well if not much better.

  7. Panther nation!!! I honestly can say gettleman had most of us panther fans pissed off with the moves he made this offseason, but after seeing what he has done lately I can only get more and more excited with the team we are building, I guess winning Super Bowls on madden isn’t the same thing as building a team in real life, I’m keeping the faith in gettleman from now on haha

  8. Lol at anyone who dislikes benjamin because of the media driven crusade against his “work ethic” and lolol at anyone saying “….but but Marqise Lee!” who every team in the league decided wasn’t worth a first rounder as he fell into he second.

    Great pick for Carolina.

  9. So many different views about this pick from my fellow Panther fans….some hating the pick. I love it because everybody knows that “CAM THROWS HIGH!” It’s gonna happen! Coincidentally, all the receivers on our team now are 6’1 and taller.

    I trust Gettleman……..My only other choice would have been to trade out of the first round and pick up additional picks.

  10. Who’d have thought I’d agree with a Jets fan, but Jetsarestacked is dead on. Panthers had problems in the red zone last year when they had to pass. Now its pick your poison, run it with Cam, or Tolbert, or play jump ball with KB. Love the pick, now grab Turner, Boitono, etc in the second.

  11. For those of you saying Lee is “God” remember the last USC WR that the Panthers drafted. That would be… Wait for it… Mr. Crayons in my play book himself, double DWI Dwayne Jarrett.

    I’ll take my chances with Benjamin.

  12. Hate to say it because he helped FSU win the title, but see this guy being a huge bust. Way too much pressure on him with no Steve Smith to learn from or any other receivers of any note in the building anymore. Hope I’m wrong.

  13. I haven’t had to much good to say about Gettleman since the playoff loss but I think this is a great move and will pay dividends for the Panthers for many years to come. This guy has all the tools to be a star in the NFL if he can keep his weight down and has a good work ethic and stays out of trouble. This is a great pick for the Panthers.

  14. Well, we certainly needed a big WR, only Benjamin does not have the speed we need, even for his size. No doubt, I like his height, but 4.61 … When you consider that there wasn’t a sniff when VJax wanted out of San Diego and now the Bucs have Evans and VJax, wow! With a mentor like Steve Smith, Benjamin would be great.

    Then I think about ATL’s WRs and New Orleans QB with any WRs (Cooks fits very well), I wonder where we are in the receiving corps. However, if Benjamin is the 1st guy on your board, you have to take him.

    There are a lot of needs (OL and CB). I really like Martavis Bryant from Clemson, who is 6’5″ and 4.4 in the forty. Maybe teams like Watkins so much, they can’t see Bryant for is potential. Somebody gets a gem tonight.

  15. as a true panther fan, i love this pick. For anyone who didnt pay close attention during the Hurney years, drafting pass catchers was his biggest weakness. He inherited Steve Smith and Moose, then whiffed on 25 or so picks of different WR’s and TE’s. I like Benjamin over Lee simply because I’d rather have Cam throwing to someone who’s at least as big as he is. David Boston part II, just a matter of time.

  16. Ricky Proehl is the Panthers WR coach, for those who didn’t know that fact.

    I’m a huge fan of this pick. He missed on some plays in college, but he made the ones that matter as in the game-winning TD against Auburn when everyone knew it was going to him. He’ll be a factor in the red zone, and he will bail Cam out on some of those overthrows he’s made. Cotchery and Avant are both good character guys who will positively influence him as well.

    I would like to see them snag Martavis Bryant or Kevin Norwood later in the draft though.

  17. There are 2 receivers in this draft that fit the Panthers offensive system and compliment Cam Newton’s game. One is Kelvin Benjamin. Two is Brandon Coleman. These 2 receivers are monsters in the run game as blockers and when they release off a block or go down field they become a huge target for Cam when singled and they open up the two pass catching TEs in the seams if they get safeties over the top.

    Kelvin Benjamin is like having Cam Newton at WR with the play making ability and size. Benjamin is to the WR position as Cam Newton is to the QB position.

    If you like Marques Colston, Alshon Jeffery, Julius Thomas, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald you will love Kelvin Benjamin.

  18. Shut the hell up about Lee. He played in a west coast offense, which is the opposite of the style of offense the Panthers play. Lee is more polished now, but he isn’t going to revitalize our passing game. Lee also doesn’t have nearly the same upside Benjamin does. Benjamin comes in and becomes an instant red zone threat. Our red zone offense caused us the San Fran play off game. Kelvin Benjamin’s speed isn’t a problem. Check his 10 yard split is in the same time frame as the other receivers. He’s a big physical receiver who is willing to block. Benjamin fits our system and he’s going to be a better receiver than Lee.

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