NFL: Buffalo Bills Benjamin laments over Carolina Panthers
The QB completed 59.8 percent of his passes in 2015 en route to being named the NFL Most Valuable Player, but Benjamin missed that whole season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said Friday he wishes the Carolina Panthers never drafted him, calling the team a poor fit and lamenting quarterback Cam Newton's lack of accuracy.
"I mean, I felt like I would've been even more successful if ... I don't know, man ... If I would've ... Looking back on it, I should've just been drafted by somebody else," Benjamin said in a Q&A with The Athletic. "I should've never went to Carolina. Truly, I just think Carolina was bad for me. It was a bad fit from the get-go.
"If you would've put me with any other quarterback, let's be real, you know what I'm saying? Any other accurate quarterback like Rodgers or Eli Manning or [Ben Roethlisberger] -- anybody! -- quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn't in that position."
Newton has not posted a completion percentage better than 60 since 2013, the year before Benjamin entered the league. The QB completed 59.8 percent of his passes in 2015 en route to being named the NFL Most Valuable Player, but Benjamin missed that whole season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
After receiving some criticism for his comments on Saturday, Benjamin defended himself on Twitter, writing, "I'm just crazy then !!! I was the one who buried my mom and skip the grievance process to get back and help that team .... let be real it's was all fake .. and to be honest i was salty Who wouldn't be .... I just ben holding it all in. And now I'm free. Hate me or love me."
Part of a tremendous 2014 draft class of wideouts that included Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams and Allen Robinson, Benjamin also told The Athletic he believes he would surpass them all if given the proper environment.
"I feel like I'm the best one that came out of that class," he said. "They were just put in better opportunities to have success. If you notice, at the end of the day, my rookie year I was the only one to get to the playoffs. Nobody else went to the playoffs. I'm the only one that helped my team go to the playoffs."
Benjamin, who has been used in the slot more by the Bills during training camp, also indicated he wasn't happy with the simplicity in how the Panthers utilized him in their offense.
"In Carolina, all they wanted me to do was line up at the X [receiver position] and take guys away from the play," Benjamin said.
Taken 28th overall by the Panthers in 2014, Benjamin caught 168 of 314 targets (53.5 percent) for 2,424 yards and 18 touchdowns in 40 games (36 starts) in Carolina.
The 27-year-old was traded to the Bills on Halloween last year for third- and seventh-round picks. He missed two games while battling an injury but finished with 16 catches on 27 targets (59.3 percent) for 217 yards and one touchdown in six games in Buffalo.
AJ McCarron, the current leader in the Bills' quarterback battle, has a career completion percentage of 64.7 percent in 133 attempts, and he hit 66.9 percent of throws in college at Alabama. Nathan Peterman completed just 24 of 49 passes (49.0 percent) as a rookie last season after finishing his college career at 60.1.
First-round pick Josh Allen completed 56.2 percent of his throws in two-plus seasons at Wyoming.
--Field Level Media
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