Kelvin Benjamin Fills Need For Carolina Panthers


Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Benjamin will go from hauling in passes from Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston to Cam Newton.

The Carolina Panthers made Benjamin their first round pick, No. 28 overall, in the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday.

Benjamin fills an immediate need for the Panthers, who lost their top four receivers–Steve Smith, who was released, and Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon LaFell, and Domenik Hixson to free agency.

Benjamin is the first receiver the Panthers have chosen in the first round since the ill-fated selection of Rae Carruth in 1997.

Benjamin, a 6-5 and 240-pounds, will give the Panthers a big target for Newton. He has massive hands (10 1/4 inches) and a large wingspan (34 7/8) to go along with his 4.61 40 time.

He had 54 catches for 1,101 yards and 15 touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore last season in Florida State’s National Championship run, including the game-winning two-yard touchdown catch in the BCS Title game against Auburn.

The Panthers passed on USC receiver Marqise Lee, who was also still on the board at No. 28 and still may be in search of some offensive linemen to replace left tackle Jordan Gross, who retired following the season.

Benjamin is still developing as a player, but his athleticism and intangibles stuck out for the Panthers and was ultimately too good to pass up Thursday night.