Scouting Report-I am going to start this off with all the things I love about Benn's game. He's got ideal size for an NFL wide out. He's strong and fearless, working the middle of the field like a champ. Other than Damian Williams he's the best route runner in the draft. Does a great job bluffing his routes and flipping corners. Nice tight cuts, sticks his foot in the ground and makes good breaks. He also does a really good job against the zone, reading the coverage and adjusting his route. Does well after the catch and while he doesn't have elite breakaway speed he does well enough. And now the bad news? He doesn't have very good hands. He does pretty much everything you could ask of a wide out, except catch the ball consistently.
Draft Status-A lot will depnd on how good the long term memory of the NFL scouts are. If you look back to his sophomore year, he was really good, and looked to be the kid as a junior to take his game to the next level. He just chose the next level down. I suspect in the end he'll end up near the bottom of the first round, because he looks to have enough upside to be worth the pick.
Final Analysis-I'm a skeptic. I don't buy into the theory that the quarterback play at Illinois was so bad last year that his stats fell that far. Remind me if there was a different QB there in 2008 than 2009. I think Benn has all the physical tools to be a no. 1 wideout in the NFL, except his drops too many passes, especially the very catchable balls. I suspect it's a confidence issue, and you'd like to think that can be corrected. And it probably had something to do with the fact that other teams realized that he was their only option in the passing game, and they jammed him hard at the line of scrimmage, and when he struggled to beat the chuck timing was off and passes missed. If he can get onto a team where he's able to get more off coverage, and he can see some success he has all the tools to be a really productive player. But he's got to show me.
Reminds me of: Braylon Edwards, WR New York Jets-Another ultra talented player who can't seem to find the mitts to catch the football on a consistent basis. A less talented player would have been out of the league years ago. I hope Benn doesn't follow down that same path but every time I watch him play, that's who I see.
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy