NFL Draft: Benjamin over Evans at WR

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Sammy Watkins of Clemson is widely regarded as the draft’s top WR, projected by everyone (present company included) to be a top-five selection on May 8.

The Giants, who select 12th, will not get a whiff of Watkins barring something unforeseen. They will, however, have a slew of wideouts at their disposal that could fit their needs.

The top two appear to be Mike Evans of Texas A&M, who will likely be gone by the time the Giants draft, and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin. Both stand 6’5″ and both were on the other end of passes thrown by Heisman Trophy winners during their college careers.

To the naked eye, Evans is and has been the better prospect but Benjamin translates just as well in the NFL. If you like having a wideout the size of a Calvin Johnson and/or a Vincent Jackson on your offense, these two are what you are looking for. But many experts are now favoring Benjamin…

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell believes Benjamin may actually be the better pro prospect. From Rotoworld:

Based on tape study, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell believes Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin is a “slightly” better receiver prospect than Texas A&M’s Mike Evans.
Cosell called Evans a “measured mover,” while Benjamin is a superior athlete with more vertical explosion when the ball is in the air. “I remember watching Benjamin run by Florida’s corner, Loucheiz Purifoy, on a deep post — and Purifoy can run, he’s in this draft as well — and Benjamin definitely showed a burst with the ball in the air,” Cosell said. “Which is something you definitely look for when you look at vertical routes. … You don’t need to be a 4.4 guy to do that. You know Jerry Rice did that exceptionally well. And Jerry Rice was never a 4.4 guy.”

From NFL.com’s Combine Tracker:

BOTTOM LINE ON EVANS: A prep hoopster with shooting-guard size, Evans combined with Johnny Manziel to form one of the most dominant quarterback-receiver connections in the nation the last two seasons. He’s a big, physical, strong-handed, West Coast possession receiver with playmaking ability who projects as a No. 2 in the pros where he will make his money as a chain mover and red-zone target.

BOTTOM LINE ON BENJAMIN: A monster-sized, intimidating, big-play receiver, Benjamin has the overall strength, length and wide catching radius that will demand extra coverage be rolled his way. Showed continual improvement, is still growing into the position, and possesses the traits to become a legitimate No. 1 receiver. A very intriguing mismatch weapon with ascending talent.

If the Giants can land Benjamin, I guarantee you’ll never say Hakeem Nicks’ name ever again. The term “mismatch weapon” is all I need to hear. Adding a player like this to an already talented group that features Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle and it just doesn’t seem fair. Am I the only one that sees this…?




44 comments
Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

Normally when you select outside the top 9 in the NFL draft, you aren't able to get your hands on an All Pro player. If you look at the statistics, it rings true. There is no difference in drafting 12th or 30th in normal drafts. However, this year is not a normal draft. This draft is stocked with talent, especially at the skill positions, well into the 20's. Whether you like him or not, Will Beatty is our starting OT, and Justin Pugh has demonstrated that he can hold his own out there, too, and there is no necessity to move him inside to G. From an OL standpoint, we need a C/G, and no matter how big that hole is, using the 12th pick on an interior OL makes absolutely no sense. There is one G who projects to be a first rounder & that is Su'a-Filo from UCLA & he projects to go late in the first round. As for a primary C, the top prospect is Marcus Martin from USC & he projects to go no earlier than mid-2nd round, a place where the Giants could get him on day 2. The only OL who is worth a mid first rounder that could be on the board when the Giants pick at 12 is Taylor Lewan from Michigan. Then again, as I said before, a starting OT is not a necessity for the Giants right now. The Giants MUST go after a playmaker with their first pick this year & Benjamin is the guy. As I've said before, Mike Evans was more of a product of Johnny Manziel than Benjamin was a product of Jameis Winston. Benjamin is an absolute beast who is a matchup nightmare for anyone out there. The Giants haven't had a matchup problem like that since Plaxico left. For those who don't think Eli needs a first round WR, you're crazy. Eli loves to throw the ball into coverage when the pressure is coming; Benjamin is the type of guy who Eli can throw the ball up to & he can go fight for it at 6'5. For those of you who say he's a "tweener," I point out to you a "tweener" down in New Orleans named Jimmy Graham. He's not too bad, is he? The only problem with Benjamin that I can see is that he isn't a very crisp route runner & he needs to work on that aspect of his game. However, he has the hands, the speed (he's football fast; his 40 time means nothing), and he has unmatchable size. If his route running is the only thing we need to worry about, then we should be in good shape with him. At best, he steps in & immediately makes the Giants' WR Corps one of the best in the game. At worst, he adjusts to the league next year, serves as a redzone threat, and explodes in year 2, following the path of the player he is compared to, Alshon Jeffrey.

I have seen that many fans are pushing for the Giants to draft Ebron with their first pick & I don't understand it. The Giants have been raving about the kid Robinson they've been developing for well over a year & this could be his year to finally break out. As Fennely mentioned, Finley & Daniels are still on the market. Additionally, the 2014 Giants' offense will not be the same as we have seen in years past. We can expect to see an offense a lot like the Packers' offense. The Packers had Finley for years & failed to maximize his ability. He is another matchup nightmare & was utilized mostly as a split end, not so much as a traditional TE. Quarless was the same thing; he produced when he was split out from the OT. The Packers have favored 4 WR sets on any down & utilize their RB as a check down / 5th WR. Why in the world would Reese spend the 12th overall pick on a position that's importance is de-emphasized in the new offense? The Giants will be fine if they have a primarily blocking TE who can catch the occasional play-action pass. Robinson fits that mold. Finley can be had on a cheap, incentive-laden deal & might be willing to come to a place where he knows the offense. There are also TEs who fit that mold in the draft, like Troy Niklas from Notre Dame. More so than many other positions, TEs are tricky to project as great players in the pros. There is a huge difference between a college TE who's primary responsibility is to catch the ball than there is a pro TE who has numerous responsibilities, not the least of which is protecting the QB. Drafting a TE 12th overall is a reach & is a move you see more from teams that don't have the draft success the Giants do.

As it stands, the Giants don't have 4 quality WR that can be thrown out there in the 4 wide sets we will be seeing a lot of this year. If they draft Benjamin they will have an amazing 4 wide set with Cruz & Jernigan/Manningham in the slots, Benjamin & Randle at the X & Y. The way the Giants didn't go after a top guy to replace Nicks has me convinced they are looking to land a starting-caliber WR in the draft. As it stands right now, I would be very surprised if Kelvin Benjamin isn't a Giant after the first day of the draft. As Fennelly said, if he is a Giant, we will no longer miss Hakeem Nicks.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Just for fun, go look at what the giants drafted from their spot in 2013. Then look at how I can redraft (hindsight is 20-20) with the 32nd pick overall.

1 - Larry Warford

2 - Keenan Allen

3 - Jordan Mills

4 - Zac Stacy

5 - LaAdrian Waddle

6 - Joseph Fauria

7 - Paul Worrilow

That's 3 starters on the offensive line. A starting bruiser at RB and an unbelievable talent at WR (side not both led me to my fantasy title game that stafford blew for me). A solid TE that got better as the year went on. And the last pick was the leading tackler on Atlanta.

My point is, It doesn't matter when or who you draft. The sum is greater than the parts. If Jerry could go back and do the draft this way, he would not have needed anyone on the offensive side of the ball in free agency, and he would have a solid LB as well.

My choice is Mike Evans because he has the biggest potential in my eyes. Mid round WRs, as Michael Stewart will tell you, can be had. I would take Keenan Allen in round 3. But hindsight is not available when Jerry picks. And he is not the only one thinking WR in mid rounds. Eric Ebron is #2 because of the need. But if you can guarantee me Niklas in Round 2, I'm just as happy. The tackle position is the only other position I would jump on in round 1, unless Mack falls to them at 12. The Giants don't draft this high very often, and I don't think the defensive line has the type of player that I would go crazy for. But then again, what the he11 do I know?

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

if any of you have the time, go on youtube and watch all the top WR's in this upcoming draft. Mike Evans has the size and speed, but his stats are a bit misleading due to many broken plays in which Manziel scrambled around and the secondary coverage collapsed. Take a look at Brandon Coleman and Martevis Bryant, both could be available between rounds 3-5

rock99
rock99

i dont get the love for benjamin. the guy is a tweener.  he is a little small and way too weak to be a TE but not quick or fast enough to be a legitimate wr threat. 

urda83
urda83

TE Adrien Robinson... THE JPP OF TIGHT ENDS!!! LOL!!! Thanks for that dude!!! I remember when he said that! lol.... Oh Jerry.... That was a goofy remark. I still love ya overall though. LoL

fast_eddie
fast_eddie

I do NOT go WR or TE in the first round with all due respect to those that think its the way to go for us. I am already on record as saying I would continue to bolster the offensive line first and. foremost. The O Line is probably the most important unit on the football field - if you can't protect your QB and if you can't run the ball when you have to, you are not winning many football games, its as simple as that. If Taylor Lewan is there at 12, I take him without any hesitation. I want Pugh, Geoff Scwartz and Lewan pummeling the opposing D-line for the next few years. If Lewan is gone, maybe Zack Martin from ND is the way to go since there is almost zero chance that Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews fall to 12. Both those two are expected to go in the to 6 picks or so. I would go WR, TE or D-Line in the second and third rounds and then mix and match. As far as TE's go, maybe we get lucky and Troy Niklas is still there in the 2nd round - that would be great if we could get him there. We can defintely still find quality TEs or WRs in rounds 2 and 3. One thing for sure is we don't need to draft for secondary help now that we've got Thurmond and DRC so we can look to improve in other areas. Anyway, I want Lewan in the worst way and I will be hoping like hell he falls into our laps...


Peace

Dave
Dave

Reese always goes best player available, no matter the need. If Lewan is there at 12 I think that'll be the pick. If other players like Barr or Mack are there I still think he'll take them even though defense is pretty solid now. Remember that good receivers will probably fall, Watkins and Evans are definitely gone in the first round, but it's still possible Odell Beckham, Marquise Lee and Benjamin are sitting there for the taking in Round 2, just like Randle was two years ago. 

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

WR Kelvin Benjamin,

played against Sub-Par CB's & Secondary's ALL SEASON:

Murray ST.

Savannah ST.

DUKE,

Wake Forest,

Maryland 

Pittsburgh

Betune-Cookman,

Nc State

Nevada

Idaho

..... i don't think any of these TEAMs have a CB over 6 foot TALL...

urda83
urda83

How can I forget The Black Unicorn at TE as well?!? LoL. As he called himself...

urda83
urda83

Giants are a football team that has always had a solid TE... Jeremy Shockey, I actually really liked Kevin Boss during his time here and he was a big help during the Super Bowl, Jake Ballard certainly had his moments in the sun as well.  But watching Brandon Meyers last year was horrible.  It seemed like Antrel Rolle had to call him out a few times, before Meyers decided to air himself out on Twitter.  If no one wants to draft a starting TE, Finley is going to the Seahawks, that is simply just a matter of time.... Owen Daniels is rumored to be going to Green Bay... DO THE GIANTS SIGN KELLEN WINSLOW???  Thoughts???  If they love Adrien Robinson soo much then how come we have never used him?  Especially during a season we started off 0-6 and Meyers did a horrible job.   

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

WR Donte Moncrief  6'2", 221lbs, 40=4.4,  2nd Rounder. SEC

WR Martavis Bryant 6'4", 211lbs, 40=4.42,  2nd-3rd Rounder, ACC

a few good 2nd or 3rd rounders,

ELI doesn't need a 1st Round WR,

if you are in SYNC, and run the right ROUTE, ELI will FIND you,

BUT, we do need a C !!! C DJ Walton is NOT a STARTER...

hard to throw to a 1st Round WR or 1st Round TE,

with out Protection,

PROTECT ELI, and he can make ANY WR look good....


Brian Bannon
Brian Bannon

Today is Benjamin's pro day, so if he performs the way many people believe he will then we'll see just how high his draft stock rises, he could be in play as early as 7 if he leapfrogs Evans as the no.2 wide out in the draft

greekgod
greekgod

Eli needs protection; in that case draft an OL that is mean as a hyena.

Dave Rosenbluth
Dave Rosenbluth

I think it comes down to this: Lewan v Benjamin's overall ranking, then followed by what is the fall off in overall grades to the next guys at each position that they might get in 2nd round.   If the fall off is slight then you can take either guy, if the fall off is greater at one position than the other, then you have to go with the guy where the fall off is greater.

urda83
urda83

When you don't have a TE on your team taking one in Round 1 is a very good idea. LoL

singlemalt
singlemalt

Evans in the first or KB in the second. Either one is fine by me- Eli needs a "big" target. I do not agree with drafting TEs in the first round.

Troy Fullman
Troy Fullman

If we were going to take Benjamin. I would prefer it be with our second round pick. I don't see the value in him with the 12th pick. I have also heard his hands aren't the greatest. If we were able to get Taylor Lewan or Eric Ebron with the first pick, and then Benjamin with the second. I feel would be much wiser, and present better value overall.

Billy Suede
Billy Suede

Manningham is coming off two lost seasons in a row and there's no guarantee that he will have the same burst that he did before so let's not think he is the end - all, be-all here.

If you have the chance to get a game changer at a skill position in the new nfl, you have to do it.

urda83
urda83

Why not draft TE Eric Ebron #1 & Center Weston Richburg in Round 2. Have JD Walton who hasn't played since 2012 as a backup. Sign someone like Mario Manningham to be # 3/4 WR... Compete with Jernigan. Take best LT available in Round 3. Sounds like that would solve most of our problems. ???

Tamás Asbóth
Tamás Asbóth

I still don't want a WR in the first round. The class is deep there would be a good second or third round pick in this position.

fast_eddie
fast_eddie

@urda83  


Last year I called him the JPP of the inactive list...the dude NEVER plays.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@fast_eddie Well said and I totally agree with you regarding not drafting a WR in the 1st rd. At this point, I still don't know what Jerry Reese is thinking regarding the 12th pick in round 1. Rounds 3-5 have talented WR and TE available, as well as centers. I won't have a problem if Lewan is still on the board and Reese selects him. I also wouldn't have a problem if a stud DE was selected.

singlemalt
singlemalt

@fast_eddie I understand what you are saying but the Giants' interior line is really what needs more work. Guards and Centers have value in rounds 2-3.  No doubt the O line needs more work though.

spider43
spider43

@Dave  ....  Maybe they will go in Round 2 as you say, but it will be before the Giants pick, that's for sure. If that's the case, Reese can just shift focus to another position, because the WR position is deep this year.

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

@urda83  

TE A. Robinson is on the REESE 3 Year Project Player Program,

Please be Patient, he is the JPP of TE's....

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

All is fine but are you willing to wait until 2015 to see him on the field? At this point, go with Ebron. He might be BPA and it's a huge need.

Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

The Giants don't spend back to back 1st rounders on the same position. Additionally, we need a G/C, not a T. 12th overall pick is too early to spend on a G/C. There will be plenty of quality players at that position in Rds 2-3. You spend your first round pick, especially in the top 20, on a playmaker, someone who can make an immediate impact, and Benjamin is that type of player.

SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@urda83  Who's to say they won't have one by the time the draft arrives? Don't forget, they love Adrien Robinson, who is the same dimensions as Eric Ebron, who also has not caught a pass in the NFL as we speak. There are still some options on the FA market the Giants can grab cheaply: Finley, Daniels, etc and grab a TE in rd 3 or 4

singlemalt
singlemalt

@urda83  don't panic over the position! They will get a TE. Not necessary to ues a first rounder on one.

Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

Did you watch him play? The guy is a man among boys & he would immediately make this offense very good. He may be average his first year, but he will definitely explode year 2. He is very similar to Alshon Jeffrey. Would you not take Alshon on the Giants?

urda83
urda83

Yeah but the nice thing about Manningham is that he would come really cheap & already has chemistry with Eli. Cruz, Randle, Jernigan (he can play!), Manningham, then maybe Ramses Barden? That's a pretty good WR crop. We don't have a TE on the team that is worthy of playing in an NFL game & odds are JD Walton will get hurt faster than Baas did last year. If Eli doesn't have a solid Center to hold the line together and provide protection we will be back to living in INT City... And nobody likes that.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@urda83 There's and a lot of different directions Jerry Reese can go on draft day. I hope that he doesn't draft a WR in the 1st rd, unless Sammy Watkins falls into his lap. There are quality WR's thru rounds 3-5.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

I can argue this all day but the Giants don't have a chance at offensive talent like this in the late 20's type picks. I'm ok with passing on Evans for Ebron. And I'm ok with a top tackle on offense. But the DLine has Kiwi, JPP, Moore, Hank and Jenkins already with Kuhn for depth. Plus Mike Patterson and others that can be signed for cheap depth. No reason to take a bench/rotational player at 12 unless he is an absolute stud in the making. And I don't see one. As for evans, with the signing of Mario, I think he is no longer in play. I think it's now Tackle than Ebron or move the pick.

spider43
spider43

@Michael Stewart....  Stud defensive end, like who??  I don't think there is any "stud" available at #12. DT seem to be deeper and more talented than the current batch of DE's.

fast_eddie
fast_eddie

There are about 5 Offensive lineman that are expected to go in the first 20 picks, including two that are expected to be in the top 10, so they definitely have VALUE in the first round as well...especially if you're a team that really needs one like us.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Today's offenses use two. Perhaps that's the plan.