The 6'5, 240 pound receiver has caught the eye of Niner fans on Twitter the last few months after tallying 29 catches for 535 yards and 10 touchdowns over the final six games of the season. Benjamin scored in 10 of Florida State's 14 games this season proving to be one of the most difficult red zone matchups in the entire country.
Highlights: In the final regular season game against the arch-rival Florida Gators, Benjamin displayed exactly what has scouts praising him, and what gives them pause. Officials in the game allowed aggressive and physical play from the start. Once Benjamin figured that out, it was over. He completely dominated the Gators secondary (including future NFL corners Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy, and Vernon Hargreaves) to the tune of nine catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. It could have been even more outstanding but Benjamin also had three really bad drops.
*Cut-ups courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.
Benjamin enrolled at FSU as 20-year-old freshmen and redshirted in 2011. Having only played organized football for three years prior to arriving at FSU, Benjamin is still rather raw in his route running. However, the progression he showed from an average 2012 season to his stellar 2013 season has everyone wondering just how high the ceiling is for the talented big man.
Strengths: His size is almost unmatched by other receivers let alone the corners trying to defend him. He also has a physical mentality which helps him use his size to exploit favorable match-ups. Benjamin has great leaping ability and already high-points the ball with the best of them, which will make him an instant red zone threat. Like all FSU receivers, Benjamin is a great run blocker often running defenders completely out of bounds on run plays.
Areas for improvement: As mentioned above, Benjamin is still raw in route running. He's improved tremendously in just two short years but there is still room to grow. He's also known for at least one bad drop a game. Benjamin will often take his eyes off the ball to turn up field. It's a bad habit he'll need to break.
Question marks: Benjamin reportedly ran a 4.5-forty last offseason. If he can duplicate that at the combine, I'd bet he'll be drafted mid to late first round. He's long strider and nearly impossible to stop at full speed. Benjamin's work ethic has also been cited as a possible red flag but I think it's a little overblown. He has improved as much as anyone since arriving at FSU making giant leaps (pun intended) in every facet of the game. Coaches used his redshirt year to ensure work ethic wouldn't be a problem. So far, it's paid off. Additionally, a strong locker room and the coaching staff in San Francisco would have no problem getting Benjamin's full attention if necessary. Benjamin will be 23 when the 2014 season kicks off so he's a bit older than most draft eligible receivers.
At the end of the day Kelvin Benjamin reminds me a lot of Brandon Marshall. Both can absolutely take over a game and both will frustrate with drops. If Benjamin can master NFL route trees, he should see tremendous success in the NFL.
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