Football Memo

NFC South Draft Grades: Carolina Panthers

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin

Carolina Panthers
Analysis: Is Kelvin Benjamin the next Plaxico Burress? Or is he more like former USC and Detroit Lions receiver Mike Williams? This alone will go a long way in deciding how Carolina drafted. Benjamin is a mismatch nightmare with a 6-5, 240-pound frame. He has decent quickness for a big man, and that makes me lean more toward him becoming more like Burress. Short-area quickness is the most important time I look for when analyzing receivers. I believe he has enough to gain separation to make an impact other than just being a target around the red zone. The Panthers grabbed defensive end Kony Ealy in the second round. Ealy flashed big-time ability, but wasn’t as consistent as you’d like. However, going to the Panthers is the perfect situation for Ealy, who won’t be asked to play a major role, instead being more of a situational rusher during his rookie campaign. Taking guard Trai Turner will help an offensive line that could use to be upgraded. Fourth-rounder Tre Boston is an underrated safety, and could see time early in his career. Carolina also added running back Tyler Gaffney in the sixth round. Gaffney isn’t going to rip off 50-yard runs, but is a very physical back, who could make the roster as a short-yardage specialist. I think the Panthers should’ve addressed upgrading the offensive tackle position. Losing Jordan Gross to retirement has to be concerning to the Panthers, who really need to do a better job protecting quarterback Cam Newton.
Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers – 2014 Draft Selections
1 (28) Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
2 (60) Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
3 (92) Trai Turner, G, LSU
4 (128) Tre Boston, DB, North Carolina
5 (148) Bene’ Benwikere, DB, San Jose State
6 (204) Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford

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