Wednesday, January 8, 2014
NFL draft watch: Kelvin Benjamin
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- What could be Kelvin Benjamin's final catch as a college player should leave a lasting impression on NFL teams that may soon start scouting him in earnest.
Benjamin secured Florida State's third national championship when he caught a 2-yard touchdown pass in the waning seconds of a wild BCS National Championship on Monday. What stood about the grab, which gave Florida State a 34-31 win over Auburn, is that Tigers cornerback Chris Davis had no chance on the play even though he had pretty good coverage.
Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin caught the winning touchdown in the BCS title game.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston threw the ball high and a leaping Benjamin made an easy grab for the game-winning score.
That play encapsulates why teams will be salivating over the 6-5, 234-pound Benjamin whenever he leaves Florida State for the NFL.
Benjamin's size and athleticism allowed him to blossom this season as a sophomore as well as score the final touchdown of the college football season. Benjamin really came into his own this season, and in Florida State's final three games he caught 18 passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns.
Benjamin is eligible for the 2014 NFL draft since he redshirted his first year at Florida State. There is a chance he could return to school and chase a second consecutive national championship with Winston and a team that will still be loaded with talent no matter how many players leave for the NFL.
If Benjamin does leave early for the draft he will certainly be among the prospects prominent on the Steelers' radar. A tall wide receiver is perhaps the one thing missing on offense, and Benjamin fits the profile of the target quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has long coveted.
If Benjamin declares for the draft he is likely to be the second wide receiver taken behind Clemson's Sammy Watkins. And he could still be available when the Steelers pick 15th overall.
I'm not ready to say picking him is a no-brainer as is the case with Watkins. And I still think that the Steelers should use their first pick on defense.
But a wide receiver such as Watkins or Benjamin -- or a left tackle that the Steelers deem as a player who can protect the quarterback's blind side for the next decade -- should merit strong consideration when it comes to that first pick.
And it will be very interesting to see what the Steelers do if Watkins is gone when they pick in the first round but Benjamin is still there.