The Kelvin Benjamin hype train has been in full effect since the BCS National Championship game. I’m not here to slow the hype train I’m here to switch the tracks all together. As I said in 10 Steps to Mastering the Offseason, it’s important to ask the right questions. In this case “What is Kelvin Benjamin?”
THE FANTASY FOOTPRINT
When listening to media coverage about Kelvin Benjamin one of the popular comparisons that I keep hearing is Vincent Jackson. I actually think this is somewhat a disservice to Vincent Jackson. While Jackson may not have played against the same level of competition as Benjamin, he was much further developed as a WR than Benjamin. Here’s why: Kelvin Benjamin’s closest comp is a TE. Ladarius Green to be exact.
Ladarius Green (6′ 6″/238) and Kelvin Benjamin (6’5″/240) share a Sim Score of .831. As you look at the footprint above, you will see that the biggest discrepancy comes from the Yard Per Target and Red Zone TD Rate areas of the footprint. RZTDR is a stat that can be skewed as discussed in this piece by Jacob Meyers. Ladarius Green didn’t have the luxury of playing with the talent that Benjamin did or catching passes from a Heisman Trophy winner. It can be argued that Green was actually a more focal piece to his team’s offense than Benjamin was and therefore received more attention. I think this is a legitimate argument as it pertains to the difference in Yp/T between the two players. Even with these slight variances, 83% is a high similarity in the Fantasy Footprint.
Some of the numbers that Benjamin posted were a bit concerning. Benjamins’s 3-Cone score of 7.33 was particularly scary. That score isn’t good even when compared to TE’s. It puts his agility somewhere in the range of Brandon Myers (7.36). Benjamin’s 20 yd Short Shuttle time of 4.39 puts him in between of Dwayne Bowe (4.35) and Marques Colston (4.44). While those are respectable receivers to be compared to, that score is still on the low-end and also in line with many of today’s Tight Ends. These poor agility numbers also showed up on Benjamin’s game film in the form of stiffness when running his routes. Benjamin also left a lot to be desired on the vertical leap. His 32.5″ vertical is the statistical average for tight ends at the combine. These stats combined don’t exactly scream explosion or elite receiver. It puts him very much in the upper middle class of tight ends. Ladarius Green actually has a higher score in 40 time (4.53), 3-Cone (7.12) and vertical (34.5).
I don’t know if an NFL GM will draft him as such, but Kelvin Benjamin’s best chance at success in the NFL may be at TE. Don’t be that guy in your Dynasty draft happy to take Benjamin as a consolation prize for missing out on Mike Evans. While Benjamin does have a ton of upside, its at a different position than what he’s currently being cast. His weight, tape and combine numbers along with his comps to Ladarius Green throw up enough red flags that I won’t be using a dynasty pick on him. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are getting the next Vincent Jackson or Brandon Marshall.
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