It's been more than a week since the 2012 NFL Draft and the Cleveland Browns first round picks, running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, have stolen the headlines, but another offensive rookie could play into the team's success this season, wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
Last season, the Browns receiving crew led the league in dropped passes and the Browns top receiver Greg Little had just 61 receptions for 709 yards. Forty-one other receivers finished with more catches.
"He's different than the guys we have, not just [in terms of] speed," Browns President Mike Holmgren told the Akron Beacon Journal. "He's smaller and quicker. He's a different receiver. We have bigger guys, not slow guys, but they're bigger."
Benjamin, the Browns fourth-round pick out of the University of Miami, caught 41 passes for 609 yards and three touchdowns last season for the Hurricanes and ended his collegiate career with 2,146 total reception yards -- only five other players have tallied more than 2,000 receiving yards in Miami history.
"When you look at him and see his size, you think he's just a slot receiver," George McDonald, Cleveland's wide receiver coach from 2009 to 2010 and current Miami wide receiver coach said. "But with his speed and quickness, he can do a lot of things on the perimeter also. I think he has the unique ability to be flexible enough to have a skill set that allows him to play both spots."
Benjamin also brings some baggage to Cleveland after receiving more than $150 in extra benefits in the form of meals and entertainment from former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro reportedly said he provided Benjamin with extra benefits beginning in his freshman season. The wide receiver was suspended from the Hurricanes season opener in 2011 and ordered to repay the benefits.