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WR Kelvin Benjamin - Carolina Panthers

6-5, 240Born: 2-5-1991College: Florida StateDrafted: Round 1, pick 28

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Recent Stats and Projections

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17 at TB 57 0 0 0 7 6 93 1 0 15.3

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 17 vs TB (7 / 6 / 93 / 1 rec)

After an anonymous start to this game Kelvin Benjamin bossed the second half, showing off the traits that prompted the Panthers to spend a first round selection on him. Boxing out defenders routinely, Benjamin got into the game at the end of the first half in a hurry-up. After having a target batted down by Brent Grimes in the early second half, Benjamin seemed to kick into another gear and approached the game with a renewed determination and focus. Cam Newton began to lean on his big receiver with the game in the balance, with Benjamin responding time and again. Benjamin's most impressive grab of the game came on a high target from Newton. It looked for all the world as if the ball would sail over his head, but he stretched his huge frame to full extension and effortlessly hauled in the pass, on the run, turning it up the field immediately. A fourth down catch kept the game alive, as he outmuscled the defensive back at the catch point. Newton went back to Benjamin for a late touchdown to give the Panthers a chance for a two-point attempt. It was a simple play for Benjamin who, lined up wide left, had only to take a step and turn around to leave the defender no chance of intercepting or breaking up the pass.

2016 Week 16 vs ATL (8 / 4 / 63 / 1 rec)

Perhaps in an effort to quell the fiery criticism directed at him in recent weeks, Kelvin Benjamin responded with a terrific outing. Despite the struggles of Cam Newton, who consistently airmailed his targets and left his receivers plenty of work to do, Benjamin made the best of it. He bossed the middle of the field early with a lovely catch in traffic. He will have been disappointed in his technique on a lofted sideline pass; with the DB in trail position, Benjamin tried to haul in the football with one hand rather than attack it with both. A subsequent end zone target was fired over Benjamin's head, but he managed to secure a touchdown catch in the second half. It was a beautiful lofted pass from Newton that allowed Benjamin to execute a subtle push-off on his defender, reach up above his frame and come down with safely. His best play of the day came on a simple shallow crossing pattern. Catching the ball in stride, Benjamin unleashed a wicked stiff arm to knock a defender on his backside before trucking up field and spinning away from another tackler for a nice gain.

2016 Week 15 vs WAS (4 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)

Like Devin Funchess, Kelvin Benjamin had a quiet outing against the Redskins despite the offensive explosion relative to recent weeks, at least. Benjamin boxed out his defensive back nicely on an early slant pass, but would only catch one more pass on a quick hitch route. The offense was run mostly through Jonathan Stewart as the Panthers padded and protected their lead, but Benjamin remained a non-factor for the second half.

2016 Week 14 vs SD (4 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)

It was a game to forget for Kelvin Benjamin, who was reportedly benched in the second half. The Panthers subsequently denied it, but Benjamin's route running appeared lethargic at times - and an interception in the red zone came after a lazy route on an out pattern. The pass was not ideal from Newton in terms of placement, but Benjamin seemed to pivot rather than plant and drive on the route, giving the defensive back an avenue to telegraph it. A handful of targets to Benjamin were unsuccessful, as the Chargers defensive backs continued to compete at the catch point. He drew a defensive pass interference call on a red zone target that he could have caught, though the call appeared dubious.

2016 Week 13 vs SEA (9 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin was left frustrated in a game of few positives for the Carolina offense. Cam Newton was not able to consistently deliver on-target passes to his big receiver, and often footballs would fly in and around Benjamin ñ but not where they needed to be. An early target on a bang-8 route was indicative of this kind of malaise, the ball hitting Benjamin's shoelaces rather than finding him between the numbers. Benjamin was limited to short catches as the Panthers tried to get the ball out quickly to protect their offensive line. A red zone target in the second half went flying over Benjamin's head, and another resulted in an offensive pass interference call against him.

2016 Week 12 vs OAK (6 / 2 / 53 / 1 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines after he appeared to be pulled out of the game for a few plays. His involvement in the offense seemed sporadic, with Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn Jr. at times playing the quote-unquote starter roles. Benjamin was not targeted often in the first half as the offense struggled mightily to gain a foothold. He came alive in the second half on his touchdown catch, a 44-yard deep pass from Cam Newton that was thrown above the rim to give him a chance to catch it. He obliged his quarterback - almost dropping it in the process - to give the Panthers the lead. Benjamin made a crucial error on one of the final drives, running a deep out route short of the first down marker. The play resulted in a punt that culminated in a Raiders tying touchdown.

2016 Week 11 vs NO (4 / 3 / 56 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin's game was interrupted by injury after he fell awkwardly on his first catch. The play saw him get inside leverage on the cornerback in coverage and trundle up the field for some yards after the catch, only to be tackled below the waist and thrown to the turf. He left the game to have his shoulder looked at, but returned looking none the worse for wear in the second half. He announced his presence after the break by hauling in a zipped Cam Newton pass near the sideline for 19 yards. A key third down target was broken up as Benjamin failed to get enough separation, but he more than made up for it. On the Panthers' final drive, Benjamin leaped high to secure a bullet pass from Newton on 3rd and 10 to essentially allow them to run out the clock. He absorbed a huge hit as he was landing, but bravely held on.

2016 Week 10 vs KC (12 / 7 / 84 / 0 rec)

An outstanding performance from Kelvin Benjamin was marred by one mistake that ultimately cost the Panthers the game. With less than 30 seconds to play, Benjamin hauled in one of his many receptions of the game with ease and turned up the field to maximise the play. However, a great strip from Marcus Peters ripped the ball out and the Chiefs would turn that into a game-winning field goal. Otherwise, Benjamin dominated the competition snap after snap and looked like he was playing a man's game with boys. He and Cam Newton continued to make quick, simple pitch and catch plays on inside-breaking routes and there was nothing the Chiefs could do, such was the precision of the pass. Benjamin made several snags on passes outside of what could be considered a comfortable catch radius, but his range meant they looked straightforward for him. Benjamin was the engine of the offense and the apple of Newton's eye.

2016 Week 9 vs LA (7 / 5 / 76 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin performed very well in spite of the struggles of the Carolina offense. Cam Newton had issues with accuracy and often sprayed passes in and around Benjamin - but gave the receiver no chance to make a play. On other occasions Benjamin bailed out his quarterback with outstanding catches outside his frame, and at times the two connected beautifully, including on a skinny post route. Benjamin looked quick off the line and physical after the catch when he was given the chance. The offense had trouble staying on the field with the Rams defense as stingy as it was, but Benjamin capitalized on his targets to the fullest.

2016 Week 8 vs ARI (5 / 2 / 73 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin's opportunities were few and far between in a game Carolina dominated, but he took advantage when he had them. An early target on long yardage was well defended and Benjamin had not separated very well. Benjamin got on the end of a darted Newton pass to the right sideline, staying alive in his pattern even as the pressure closed in on his quarterback. Benjamin got a little separation from Patrick Peterson and streaked down the field for a massive gain. Newton and Benjamin connected beautifully on a timing route over the middle in the second half, and a later red zone target Benjamin's way was well overthrown. For the most part, Benjamin's involvement and indeed, the entire receiving corps' was kept to a minimum due to the game script.

2016 Week 6 vs NO (14 / 8 / 86 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin was peppered with passes as Cam Newton returned to the line-up for the Panthers. The hulking receiver had his way with the Saints defensive backs, but often he was unable to haul in his quarterback's inaccurate passes. On more than one occasion Benjamin had to adjust or leap into the air to even have a shot at catching Newton's wild passes. Benjamin produced in the big moments, however, converting a key fourth down play with a quick out route. He was in sync with Newton on a leaping end zone target, towering above the defender and only failing to get his second foot in by a few inches. Benjamin showed some good juice after the catch on a handful of plays, but for the most part he was able to easily get open and present a big target for Newton as their strong connection continues to blossom.

2016 Week 5 vs TB (9 / 5 / 70 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin rebounded nicely after a disappointing display in Atlanta, taking advantage of the size mismatch against Tampa Bay's defensive backs. Benjamin boxed out the defenders on simple, short routes as he and Derek Anderson established an early connection. Regardless of where the at-times scattershot Anderson's pass was placed, Benjamin bailed out his quarterback by showing off his ridiculous catch radius. Benjamin went low after running a dig route, scooping up a low pass after a fantastic adjustment. A target intended for Benjamin ended up being intercepted, though the fault lays on the shoulders of Anderson, who went to the well one too many times. The defensive back broke quickly on the football, and it was picked off after being knocked high into the Charlotte night sky. Benjamin was targeted at the back of the end zone on a crossing pattern, as Anderson hoped to use the size advantage when it really counted, but the pass was too high. Most of Benjamin's catches came in the short to intermediate range, but he showed off his prowess in that area and reasserted himself as the top target in the passing attack.

2016 Week 4 vs ATL (7 / 3 / 39 / 1 rec)

Despite the calls to increase Kelvin Benjamin's involvement this week, the Falcons had other plans. Cam Newton's struggles contributed to Benjamin's less-than-stellar performance, although Desmond Trufant did an excellent job keeping the big receiver under wraps. Benjamin had a beautiful catch on a quick slant to keep a drive alive early, but for the rest of the time Newton was in Benjamin and he just were not on the same wavelength. Passes sailed over the receiver's head and he became visibly frustrated at not getting calls from the officials. Benjamin managed to convert a red zone opportunity on one of the better Newton passes of the day, a zipped effort between his numbers on a skinny post. The inside-breaking route gave the defensive back no chance to undercut it.

2016 Week 3 vs MIN (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin was fairly anonymous as the Panthers offense was stymied by a stingy and unforgiving Vikings unit. The entire passing offense struggled to get into a rhythm, but the Cam Newton to Benjamin connection was blanked completely. The Vikings devoted a lot of attention to the big receiver, affecting his release off the line and making it difficult to find seams to throw the ball. The Minnesota defensive backs had 'sticky' coverage all game long, and Benjamin cut a frustrated figure after several routes. To make matters worse, Benjamin was called for a block in the back penalty that nullified a huge Fozzy Whittaker catch and run that could have set the Panthers up with a 17-2 lead. A peeved Ron Rivera pulled Benjamin after the play, his bubbling anger on display for all. Newton targeted Benjamin in the waning moments, only to see his pass nearly intercepted. It appeared as though the quarterback and receiver were seeing two different things pre-snap, as Benjamin did not run the pattern Newton expected.

2016 Week 2 vs SF (9 / 7 / 108 / 2 rec)

Kelvin Benjamin produced a stellar performance against the 49ers, who simply could not match up from the get-go. Cam Newton identified early that the 49ers defense were playing off coverage time and time again against Benjamin, who would simply eat up the cushion, box out the defensive back and catch the football. Benjamin was called for offensive pass interference early on, as it appeared he had mixed up his assignment. He would rebound quickly with a nice catch on a slant pattern, rolling off the instant contact. This would become a theme for Benjamin's day: taking a hit at the catch point, but holding on and continuing to churn out first downs. He made a spectacular leaping catch over the middle on a third down play, taking a hit from both sides. In an impressive display of concentration and body control, he followed that up with a beautiful grab on a skinny post, initially juggling the ball before securing it to his body with his left hand. His first of two touchdown receptions came in the red zone on a straightforward pitch and catch, although a low pass from Newton made Benjamin go low to scoop up the football. A quick out route against off coverage made it easy for the big-bodied Benjamin. Benjamin's second touchdown reception came out of a three-by-one set and looked eerily similar to his touchdown against Denver in the opening game. He got inside leverage on the defensive back and simply boxed him out of the play with his body, shielding the ball as it was zipped perfectly into his midsection for the score. He closed the game out with a brilliant grab on third down, running the skinny post and hauling in a difficult catch in traffic, his helmet falling off in the process.

2016 Week 1 vs DEN (12 / 6 / 91 / 1 rec)

In Kelvin Benjamin's first regular season action since 2014, he and Cam Newton picked right up where they left off. Benjamin was moved all over the offensive formation and, although the team adhered to their strict snap count for their top target, Benjamin maximized the plays he was between the lines. The quarterback-receiver combination connected early on an intermediate dig route, Newton firing it between Benjamin's numbers and trusting him to make the play despite the oncoming defender's hit. With the Panthers set up in the red zone early, Newton only had eyes for Benjamin. Running a post pattern from the outside, Benjamin got inside leverage on his defensive back immediately, presenting an easy target for Newton. His quarterback duly obliged, firing a pass 'above the rim' where the defensive back could not possibly undercut it. The execution snap to pass was so quick and clinical that there was nothing the Broncos could have done to stop it. Benjamin displayed his bullish running style on a nice catch in the flat in the third quarter, managing to shake off a tackle attempt with his strength and turning upfield for 15 yards. He seemed completely unaffected by the ghost of his disastrous knee injury. On one play he took a huge shot in the back of his legs from a defender after reeling in a Newton fast ball and showed no ill effects, bouncing back up. Newton continued to look Benjamin's way, but the duo struggled to connect in the second half as the pressure from the Denver pass rush cranked up a notch. Timing patterns were affected, and a slant pass thrown to Benjamin was later contested at the catch point, tipped into the air and intercepted. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. made an outstanding play to haul in the fluttering ball as it caromed off Benjamin's body. With the game on the line and the Panthers facing a fourth down and 20 yards, Benjamin was the target of a high Newton pass; he had his hands on it, but ultimately the fact it was incomplete did not matter as a penalty extended the drive. Benjamin made up for the missed assignment by hauling in a nice catch over the middle in the final moments of the game. It was a highly encouraging performance from Benjamin and the chemistry between he and Newton is evidently picking up where it left off.

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Latest News

Panthers | Kelvin Benjamin's option to be exercised (Fri Mar 24, 12:36 PM) - Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's fifth year option for the 2018 season will be picked up, according to general manager Dave Gettleman.

Our View: Benjamin didn't look quite like his old self last year after missing all of the 2015 season with a knee injury. The Panthers make the wise move by keeping him under contract through the 2018 season. The way he plays over the next two seasons will determine if/when he gets a long-term contract with the Panthers.
link to story   

Panthers | Kelvin Benjamin deadline looming (Fri Mar 24, 09:41 AM) - Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin has a May 2 deadline for the team to pick up his fifth-year option, which figures to be around $8 million.

Our View: Even though he missed all of 2015 due to a knee injury, Benjamin is a talent the Panthers need to keep around. Still working through the after effects of his knee injury, Benjamin had a down 2016 season. Expect him to bounce back in a revamped passing attack.
link to story   

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