|Benjamin's experience is good so far|
|Panthers' rookie WR making the right moves|
|Published Tuesday, August 12, 2014 8:57 am|
Rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin looked promising in the Panthers preseason opener, but he knows the transition from college to professional football won’t be easy.
Benjamin, who caught one pass for 29 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut – a 20-18 loss to Buffalo – is making his mark as a rookie being groomed as Carolina’s top receiving threat.
“Coming from Florida State, where they’ve got a lot of reads, that definitely helped me coming in here and adjusting to the scheme,” Benjamin said.
Transitioning from college to the professional game, Benjamin has noticed the differences in styles of play. Professional defenders are more likely to challenge receivers, even the 6-4, 240-pound Benjamin.
“In college, we spread the ball so much,” he said. “Now, I focus and watch every ball to my hand just try to make plays.”
Benjamin executed that skill in his first when he scored on a 29-yard pass from quarterback Derek Anderson. Benjamin stumbled in the end zone but maintained his concentration long enough to pull the ball in.
“We had man coverage on Kelvin,” Anderson said. “The corner bailed on him and he just made a great play.”
“It was a nine route,” Benjamin beamed. “Derek threw a great ball and gave me a chance to make a play. I got tangled with the corner but never took my eyes off the ball and made the play.”
As the Panthers’ 2014 first-round draft pick, Benjamin has a lot of expectations surrounding his Carolina career.
“He’s done well I think overall,” veteran linebacker A.J. Klein said.
Benjamin will have to continue to prove his worth to stay in the good graces of coaches and fans, but whatever happens, he has the support of teammates like fellow receiver Brenton Bersin, who is trying to earn a roster spot.
“This guy right next to me,” Bersin said, gesturing to Benjamin, “I’ve been helping him in meetings. Just trying to help him be in the right spot and run the right route.”
Benjamin appreciates the help.
“I came to a great organization where the guys are willing to help you and compete with you at the same time for positions,” he said. “It’s great. I love this organization. I’m so excited and happy.”
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