The first day of OTA’s for the Carolina Panthers took place today and two of the more notable players not in attendance were veteran offensive lineman Michael Oher and rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey cannot technically attend OTA’s until Stanford’s academic year comes to an end. Oher has not been medically cleared to participate so he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
One player who will receive a lot of attention over the next couple weeks will be Kelvin Benjamin who was the subject of criticism in April after it was rumored he weighed in at 280 pounds. The Panthers denied he weighed that much, but head coach Ron Rivera did acknowledge that Benjamin came in “a little heavy.” Benjamin still has plenty of time to get his weight under control. Unfortunately a video surfaced showing the fourth-year receiver running a route and he looked a little slow out of the gate and rounded the route a little too much. There’s over 3 months until the season begins and with the coaching staff and organization able to work with him over the next few weeks he’ll be able to get on a proper diet and workout regimen.
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Despite the optimism surrounding Benjamin, this isn’t the first time he’s come in overweight. In 2015 he reported to OTA’s “a little heavy” and was battling a hamstring injury as well. At the time Rivera tabbed the injury to being a little overweight, so this isn’t uncharted territory for the coaching staff.
When Benjamin is healthy and in shape he has the potential to be an elite receiver in the NFL. In 2015, he missed the entire season due to a torn ACL, but between 2014 and 2016 he totaled 1,949 receiving yards on 263 catches with 16 touchdowns. The Panthers are looking to rebound off a disappointing season following a super bowl appearance in 2015 and will need Benjamin in shape and at the top of his game.