Due to the amount of interest from fellow commenters around POD, I have decided to do my next FanPost on Kelvin Benjamin. Like Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin is a physical freak on the field. He was a Rivals 4 star recruit out of Belle Glade, Florida that chose Florida State over Florida, Marshall, Miami (FL), South Florida, and West Virginia. Benjamin declared for the draft not too long ago. It was pretty much expected since he was held back in high school twice and was a redshirt sophomore at 22 years old (23 in two weeks). He stands at 6'5 and weighs 235 pounds according to CBS. He's currently projected to go in the late first to early 2nd round range.
Benjamin doesn't exactly have the largest sample size, but in his last year at FSU he showed how lethal he can be in the redzone. He was 1st in the ACC in TDs (15) and 3rd in the NCAA. As a Freshman Benjamin had EJ Manuel as his quarterback and only had 30 catches that year for 495 yards. He had a much better year the following year with 54 catches and 1011 yards with an impressive 18.7 yards per catch (4th in the ACC). I guess it helps that he had a current NFL QB as his QB in 2012, and a future NFL star in Famous Jameis Winston as his QB this past year. Jimbo Fisher has done a fantastic job of bringing in QB's and developing them and making them NFL caliber QB's. His 3 starting QB's at FSU have been Christian Ponder (brought in by Bowden), EJ Manuel and Jameis Winston.
The biggest concern with Kelvin Benjamin would have to be the amount of dropped passes he's had. Some of these drops are pretty bad and should never happen. Here are some of his drops:
Credit to Greg Peshek from www.secondroundstats.com on putting together that video. I recommend you follow him at @NU_Gap if you have twitter as well and check out all of his advanced metrics on this years class. That guy puts a lot of work into his metrics breakdowns and they're worth a look. Here's one on drop %.
As you can see, Lee and Benjamin's drop % is more than double Watkins and Evans. To put these numbers into perspective, the Lions led the league in drop % last year with 7.1% of their passes dropped. This could have a lot to do with Stafford's accuracy issues all year, but some guys like Bush, Pettigrew, Durham and even Megatron had issues dropping the ball all year. What jumped out at me was the amount of drops Lee had. This could be due to a lack of a bigger sample size for him, but he only missed a few games, and was dealing with lower body injuries. It's hard to say whether Benjamin's drops can be fixable. He doesn't have a ton of experience as a football player, so I'm guessing that it should be fixable with the right WR coach.
While the drops may be a little concerning, Benjamin still has a lot of positive traits and may have the most upside in the draft. With his frame, it's almost impossible to bring him down sometimes. And Florida defenders learned that the hard way.
A lot of Lions fans like to talk about adding that extra deep threat to the team. When you think of a quintessential deep threat receiver, most likely you're thinking of a guy like Desean Jackson, Torrey Smith, or Mike Wallace type receiver. Someone who can get behind defenses and go for the home run play and get you a TD in one or two plays for 80 yards. However, in this class of receivers, Evans and Benjamin are among the top in receiving yards from the LOS (Line of Scrimmage). This stat can be a little skewed because of the amount of screens caught by Watkins, but it is still telling of how much of a deep threat these guys are. Like I said in my Evans article before, the fact that Evans was able to beat Lee and compete with Watkins in YAC is pretty incredible.
Hey Reno, can Kelvin Benjamin block?
In this play, you'll see a toss to Carlos Williams where Benjamin gives a nasty crackback block and sets his man on his ass. Benjamin doesn't even look to see what happens after the block.
Kelvin Benjamin is Clutch
Everyone and their grandmother knew that after the penalty for pass interference, that the ball was going to go to Kelvin Benjamin. When you have a redzone threat like that, you just have to think that the ball is going to him. I thought maybe Auburn should have put an extra body on him there, but they decided to go 1 on 1 and Benjamin took advantage and ended up with the game winning grab to seal the game. The ball was placed where only he could get it and he really got up in the air for it. It was huge because before that TD catch, Benjamin was actually playing pretty poorly all game long and only had 3 catches with one really bad drop in the first half.
Why We Should Draft Kelvin Benjamin
Having Kelvin Benjamin and Megatron on the field at the same time is unfair. And having Kelvin Benjamin, Megatron and Fauria all on the field in the redzone is actually illegal in 17 states. I think that Benjamin may have the highest amount of upside out of all of the WR's in this draft. If he can work on his routes and hands we might end up talking about how he was the best WR to come out of this class. You can't teach height and size. The 10th pick may be a reach for Benjamin, and he may not make it to the 2nd round. If the FO truly believes this kid will turn into a stud, then I have no problem picking him at #10. Otherwise, I'd rather go with Watkins or Evans if they're available. If not, then try to trade down, acquire an extra pick and maybe even end up with KB with a mid/late 1st round pick acquired.
Why We Shouldn't Draft Kelvin Benjamin
The Lions are really desperate for a #2 WR. Benjamin is already turning 23 years old soon and has little experience playing football. Should we really take another risk with our history of WR's that we've taken early? Maybe it's better to address the need in FA and sign a guy like Edelman, or go for a younger player with more experience in the draft. The Lions led the league in dropped passes and drop % last year, and adding a guy who dropped almost 10% of his passes certainly isn't going to solve that problem. The question is, are the drops fixable? I'd say yes, but are we willing to take that risk?
I appreciate all of the feedback so far on these fanposts. Feel free to discuss what you think of KB below. I know a lot of people are fans of his here. I would love to see this guy on our team, as well as almost any of the top 10-15 WR prospects. It's an exciting class for sure. Next I'll be moving on to either CB's or OLB's.