Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC South [Print without images]

Thursday, May 8, 2014
Panthers pick Kelvin Benjamin in 1st

By David Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The pick: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State.

My take: The Panthers desperately needed a dynamic young receiver and actually had a choice between Benjamin and Southern California's Marqise Lee. Benjamin gives quarterback Cam Newton a big target to throw to and can block for him when he gets loose in the secondary. Many considered Benjamin a raw talent, but his production shows he's a clutch player. He had 15 touchdowns last season, including the game winner in the national championship against the Auburn Tigers. He can help the Panthers forget the loss of Steve Smith.

The last time: The only time the Panthers selected a wide receiver in the first round was 1997, when they took Colorado's Rae Carruth with the 27th pick. Carruth was charged in 1999 and later convicted for conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend.

What's next: The Panthers still have a big need at left tackle and cornerback, and likely will pick up one of each in the second and third rounds. Nevada's Joel Bitonio and North Dakota State's Billy Turner are players they have shown a lot of interest in at tackle.