Kelvin Benjamin

Kelvin Benjamin

refer to caption

Benjamin with the Carolina Panthers in 2014
No. 13Carolina Panthers
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1991-02-05) February 5, 1991
Place of birth: Belle Glade, Florida
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Belle Glade (FL) Glades Central
College: Florida State
NFL Draft: 2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 28
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2016
Receptions: 119
Receiving yards: 1,691
Receiving touchdowns: 13
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Kelvin Benjamin (born February 5, 1991) is an American football wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Panthers in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Florida State.

Early years

Benjamin attended Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida, where he played football, basketball and ran track. In football, he played as a wide receiver. He was named First Team All-Palm Beach County by Sun-Sentinel and was selected to the Palm Beach Post All-Area First Team. As a senior, he hauled in 30 catches for 551 yards with six touchdowns, although he just played in eight games.[1] In track & field, Benjamin competed in the jumping events. He got a personal-best jump of 1.84 meters in the high jump at the 2009 FHSAA 2A District 13, where he tied for third place.[2] At the 2010 Glades Central Invitational, he took gold in the long jump event, recording a career-best leap of 6.48 meters.[3] He was deemed ineligible in his senior year in high school due to his age, graduating high school at 20 years of age.


Regarded as a four-star recruit by, Benjamin was ranked as the No. 7 wide receiver and the No. 60 overall player nationally in his class. ranked him as the No. 12 receiver in the nation, while had him as the No. 23. According to, he was the No. 13 wide receiver and the No. 89 player nationally. He chose Florida State University over scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida, Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech, among others.[4]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Kelvin Benjamin
Belle Glade, Florida Glades Central High School 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 4.60 Jan 9, 2011 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN grade: 80
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 23 (WR)   Rivals: 8 (WR), 60 (National), 16 (FL)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career

After being redshirted in 2011, Benjamin played in all 14 games in 2012, recording 30 receptions for 495 yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2013 he had 54 receptions for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown against Auburn in the BCS title game with 13 seconds remaining.[5][6] Sports Illustrated named Benjamin to their All-American first team and he was also selected to the All-ACC Second Team by the coaches and All-ACC Third Team by media.[1] After the season, Benjamin decided to forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.[7]

Professional career

2014 NFL Draft

Despite forgoing two years of eligibility, Benjamin was still given a first round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which is typically conservative with underclassmen draft entrants, and was widely considered one of the top wide receivers in the 2014 NFL Draft.[8][9] Benjamin's size, speed, physicality, and high-pointing ability drew parallels to players including Alshon Jeffrey and Plaxico Burress.[10][11] While many scouts were concerned about his hands and a current lack of precise route running at this point, many projected him as a first-round pick due to his potential.[12][13][14] Benjamin was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 28th pick of the first round. NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock praised the Panthers selection of Benjamin after it occurred. "He's 6-foot-5, 240 pounds with 35-inch arms, and you're talking about a catching radius." Mayock then went on to compare Benjamin to other college wide receivers that only had one year of college production. "However, there's one thing about wide receivers with only one year of college production (like Benjamin at FSU) and it's a little sobering when you look at the names on that list: Stephen Hill, Greg Little, Devin Thomas, Anthony Gonzalez," Mayock said.[15][16]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BPWonderlic
6 ft 5 in 240 lb34⅞ in10¼ in 4.61 s 1.65 s 2.63 s 4.39 s 7.33 s 33 in 9 ft 11 in 13 reps7[17]
All values from NFL Combine[18] or Florida State Pro Day[19][20]

Carolina Panthers

Benjamin playing against the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.

2014: rookie season

After losing Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn, and Domenik Hixon in the offseason, the Panthers needed wide receiver help, which was probably the main reason why the Panthers chose Benjamin in the draft. After the draft, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said to reporters that when he watched Benjamin's tape, he thought of a young Plaxico Burress. Burress only had 22 receptions in his rookie season, but many have noted that Benjamin should expect to see a lot more playing time than that with the lack of receivers on the roster.[21] During training camp and the preseason, Benjamin was in a competition for the Panthers No. 1 receiver spot with former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. On June 4, 2014, Benjamin signed a four-year $7.66 million deal.[22] During his debut performance on September 7, 2014 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Benjamin recorded 6 receptions for 92 yards and 1 TD; quarterback Derek Anderson had a 152.1 quarterback rating when throwing it towards Benjamin.[23][24] With his TD reception, Benjamin joined Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Demaryius Thomas, Percy Harvin, Brandin Cooks, and Mike Williams as the only rookie first round wide receivers to catch a TD reception during their debut performance.[25] Additionally, Benjamin's 92 yards were the seventh-most for a wide receiver in the first game of his rookie season behind Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson, Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and Allen Hurns.[26] Kelvin Benjamin was voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week for his week 1 performance.[27] In a week 2 win over the Detroit Lions, Benjamin recorded 2 catches for 46 yards.[28] In week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Benjamin recorded his first 100-yard game, catching 8 passes for 115 yards and 1 TD.[29] Through the first three weeks of the season, Benjamin was targeted seven times in the deep passing game (20+ yards), tied for sixth in the league.[30] Additionally, during this span, ProFootball Focus ranked Benjamin 22nd in the NFL in receiving efficiency.[31] During week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens, Benjamin recorded 5 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.[28] With the touchdown reception, Benjamin became the only rookie wide receiver in the past 10 years to record a 25+ yard receiving touchdown in three of the team’s first four games, joining Randy Moss, who accomplished the feat in 1998.[32] Further, Benjamin is only the second rookie in the last 30 years to gain 300 receiving yards and catch three touchdown passes in his team’s first four games, joining Marques Colston, who accomplished the feat in 2006.[33] On October 2, 2014, it was announced that the NFL named Kelvin Benjamin the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for September.[34] In the Panthers week 8 matchup against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, Benjamin racked up 94 yards against the All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, the highest yardage total Sherman allowed since Week 4 of 2012.[35] Benjamin finished the season with 73 receptions, 1,008 yards receiving, and 9 touchdowns. He and teammate Greg Olsen became the first receiving duo to amass 1,000 receiving yards in the same year for the Panthers since Muhsin Muhammad and Patrick Jeffers in 1999. Benjamin became only the 11th rookie wide receiver in NFL history to record a 1,000 yard season. During the Panthers playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Benjamin recorded 7 catches for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns.[28]

2015: torn ACL

Kelvin came into training in the best shape of his football career, according to Panthers coach Ron Rivera.[36] In August, Benjamin tore his ACL in a joint practice with the Miami Dolphins,[37] ending his 2015 season. The Panthers placed him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Without Benjamin, the Panthers won 15 games that set a franchise record and reached Super Bowl 50, where they lost 24-10 to the Denver Broncos.

2016 season

After missing all of the 2015 season with a torn ACL, Benjamin returned in the season opener game against the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Benjamin caught 6 balls for 91 yards and a touchdown in his return.

Career statistics

Regular season

Year Team GP GS Receiving Fumbles
Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2014 CAR 16 15 73 1,008 13.8 51 9 1 1
2015 CAR 0 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- --


Year Team GP GS Receiving Fumbles
Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2014–15 CAR 2 2 11 108 9.8 28 2 -- --
2015–16 CAR 0 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Career accomplishments

Panthers franchise records

NFL awards


  1. 1 2
  5. FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin's size can create problems for Auburn's secondary
  6. Kelvin Benjamin gives FSU sizable edge in passing game
  7. Kelvin Benjamin leaving FSU for NFL
  12. NFL Draft Scout
  13. NFL draft 2014 top 10 WRs: Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, more
  14. NFL draft stock rising for FSU’s Kelvin Benjamin, who could come out early
  15. Panthers hope Kelvin Benjamin is their blue goose at No. 28
  16. "Historical NFL Wonderlic Scores". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  26. 1 2 3
  35. Newton, David (August 19, 2015). "Kelvin Benjamin will miss the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL in his left knee". Retrieved August 19, 2015.
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