With the acquisition of Kelvin Benjamin, we wanted to hear from someone on the Panthers side of the ledger in order to figure out what the Bills were getting. Brian Beversluis of Cat Scratch Reader was an absolute saint for getting this to me so quickly. Check these fine folks out, as we as Bills fans should become accustomed to Panther acquisitions as long as McBeane’s driving the bus!
What are Kelvin’s strengths and weaknesses?
Kelvin is a physical receiver at the catch point, and obviously his size is a major factor. He’s a strong guy as far as receivers go, so it’s difficult to bring him down. He is usually good for several highlight reel catches as well, and is difficult for defenses in single coverage. His strength lies in catches 15-20 yards down the field.
Weaknesses wise, he isn’t the best route runner and often struggles to get separation. Most of his catches are going to be contested catches, and his lack of quick twitch speed allows him to be blanketed pretty easily. He also has had issues with drops, and can take himself out of games mentally if he’s frustrated. He can be a WR1, but he’s not a complete WR1.
I saw he had weight issues early on in his career and they crept up against this off-season. How has the team response been to it prior to the trade?
These weight issues have been overblown. Kelvin had a very difficult offseason in his personal life, but he came back weighing 240 once they got into training camp. The team didn’t like his weight before that, but he was able to get down and the team liked where he was at.
Is there a signature game that you could point to, or film Bills fans should watch that will encapsulate Benjamin as a player?
Week 1 2016 against the Broncos would be a good one, Cam Newton and the offense looked a lot like the 2015 Super Bowl squad. He had a heck of a game against one of the best defenses in the league, and it showed how effective he can be.
As far as bad goes, go to the 2016 Chiefs game. You’ll see what he looks like when he’s mentally not with it or frustrated.
Does Kelvin interact with Carolina fans much on social media?
A bit. Not enough to be notable in my mind, but he’s active enough in my opinion.
I saw the post on your site that mentioned Beane should never have been allowed to leave. How has the Marty Hurney 2.0 tour gone so far?
So far very up and down. Hurney has made a lot of head scratching decisions, but has also addressed major problems (safety depth, speed at receiver, cornerback depth). Hurney is supposed to just be a stand in here, but the Benjamin trade is the biggest head scratcher. It seems they found Benjamin’s talent redundant with Devin Funchess also on the roster, and Hurney said they wanted to add more speed to the field. We will see how that plays out.
With the introduction of Christian McCaffrey to the offense, was this move inevitable?
I don’t think McCaffrey’s addition initially was meant to phase out KB. McCaffery is more of a slot guy and really a different animal as far as receiving goes, reminding me more of a Wes Walker or a Jarvis Landry.. I think Funchess’s performance had more to do with this than that.
How are Carolina Fans taking the trade? Is it joy at the compensation, anger, etc?
They hate it for the most part. Some are justifying it as a way to get rookie 2nd round speedster Curtis Samuel more involved, some say Benjamin is overrated and caused the offense to be more stagnant. I think the team will struggle without him at first, but with Olsen returning and Funchess providing a similar skill set, they will be okay.
Anything else you think Bills fans should know about their newest wideout?
Be prepared for a frustrating drop on an easy pass, followed by an unbelievable catch later in the game. There’s a lot of inconsistency there, but he’s a playmaker.