July 15, 2024

NFL draft potential in comparison to Travis Benjamin, a former speedster for the Browns

We’re back examining the flawed science that is the NFL draft. Teams are making every effort to match players to demands, both present and future, in a world where fans and the media place a premium on instant output and anticipate higher levels of productivity from players than has historically been the case.

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A commonality among fans, media, and clubs is the utilization of NFL draft hopefuls and current/former players as comparison subjects. Former Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin surfaced as a comparison for Texas Longhorns wide receiver Xavier Worthy in the draft, raising the possibility that the Browns will select another receiver this year:An intriguing case study of how a player is perceived and develops in the league is Benjamin. The former Miami Hurricane was never going to be a big reception man since he was a speedster, but his worth came in big plays. Benjamin had just 41 receptions in his first three seasons in Cleveland, but he averaged more than 16 yards per catch each of those three seasons.

Benjamin collected 68 receptions for 966 yards and five scores in his final season with the Browns. After that, he played for the Los Angeles Chargers (later renamed the San Diego Chargers) for four seasons until spending his last season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2021.

Benjamin is a fascinating case study of how a player is seen and grows inside the league. Being a speedster, the former Miami Hurricane was never going to be a huge reception man, but big plays were what made him valuable. In his first three seasons in Cleveland, Benjamin only had 41 receptions, but he averaged over 16 yards per catch each time.

In his last season with the Browns, Benjamin caught 68 passes for 966 yards and five touchdowns. After that, he spent his final season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2021 before playing for the Los Angeles Chargers (later called the San Diego Chargers) for four seasons.

The likeness to Benjamin and the experience with Anthony Schwartz will probably make Cleveland supporters less excited about selecting Worthy with the team’s first pick. That is the point at which analogies become deceptive. Even though two players may play the game similarly, their career output will not necessarily be the same. QBs, opportunities, health, and the system are just a few of the factors that can significantly affect a player’s effectiveness, particularly at wide receiver.

Using Benjamin as a benchmark, evaluating his choice after three seasons would have resulted in a grade of C or lower. A B or above after four seasons. Benjamin was a fourth-round pick whose career grade was at least a good B+. Though it may take Worthy a few years to truly get going if he is selected in the second round as anticipated, the modern NFL has considerably more openings for speed receivers than it did for Benjamin.

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