Can Kelvin Benjamin help the Eagles?
Former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is the epitome of what the NFL is transitioning to; tall and lanky receivers who can catch the ball over the top of defenders. Benjamin is projected as a mid to late first round pick in this years’ 2014 NFL Draft. It’s possible he will be available when the Philadelphia Eagles are on the clock with the 22nd pick. The Eagles should give serious consideration to Benjamin. Quite frankly, Kelvin Benjamin needs to be a Philadelphia Eagle. The team has a need at receiver, wants to transform the receiver position, and has the right pieces in place, to help Benjamin reach his full potential.
With the departure of former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the team has a hole that needs to be filled. Many have debated if the team should draft offense or defense in the first round. The Eagles defense does indeed need to be upgraded. There’s no debating that, but the players that will more than likely be available by the time the Eagles are selecting aren’t good fits or simply aren’t talented enough to garner a 22nd selection overall. The cornerback position is weak after Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert who’s more than likely a top 15 pick, the rest of the pack is pedestrian. The defensive line group isn’t impressive and I don’t see any guys that would come in and totally bolster the defense. The biggest need for the Eagles on defense is at the outside linebacker spot, which the way it looks isn’t very deep especially when the team is on the clock, all the “elite” pass rushers should be gone. So with this in mind, the Eagles should go receiver and Kelvin Benjamin should be their man.
Many fans and analysts are set that Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly needs a small, speedy receiver to replace the small, speedy DeSean Jackson. This is completely false. With the evolution of the corner position with guys like Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman, and Arizona Cardinals Patrick Peterson who are lanky and have good size, the receivers are getting bigger. In fact, out of the 8 original selected 2014 Pro Bowl wide receivers 7 of them are at least 6’2 or over. The league is evolving and the Eagles are trying to do so as well. We all know the cliché saying Chip Kelly uses “big people beat up little people”. While this is extremely corny this notion does hold true. The team wants to transform the position into bigger and taller receivers. This explains the re-signing of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper who’s 6’3, 225 lbs, and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin 6’0, 200 lbs. Kelvin Benjamin fits that mold he’s 6’5, 240 lbs. The Eagles are trying to build a receiving core that has immense height and talent and adding Benjamin will get the team a step closer to achieving that goal.
Kelvin Benjamin is a great player with future Pro Bowler written all over him. With that being said, Benjamin has his fair share of issues as well. He is still a very raw route runner. With him being so tall, it’s hard for Benjamin to get in and out of his breaks. He sometimes telegraphs his routes and has a bad habit of making “concentration drops”. He takes his eyes off the ball to look down field and loses focus of making the catch. He lacks elite quickness and often has to make catches in traffic. The best part about this though, is that all the things Benjamin struggles with are coachable. Route running gets better with coaching and experience, concentration drops are negated by what? You guessed it, more concentration, and with the lack of quickness he makes up for it by having extremely long strides. Benjamin’s positives outweigh the negatives. He has a ridiculous catch radius and makes the tough catches in the red zone. He run blocks very well and was actually very effective in the slot. He’s versatile and wins the one on one matchup most of the time. It’s easy to focus on his struggles, but you cant deny Benjamin’s talent.