"Benji has had an unbelievable training camp," Newton said, per the team's official website. "I do see growth out of him and we need that growth out of him because he is pretty much the leader of that room."
Benjamin was dogged during the offseason over worries that he'd grown "a little heavy," per coach Ron Rivera. During the preaseason, though, the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder has used his frame to attack cover men with eight catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns in limited work.
"I think Kelvin's playing very, very physical," Rivera said. "He's running really good routes, he's a great target, and he presents a good target to the quarterback. He's making the catches and getting upfield. He doesn't waste a lot of steps once he catches the ball. He knows to get north and south, and he does that very quickly."
Benjamin's leap is a much-needed development for Newton, who is winding his way back from shoulder surgery but already looked in sync with his top target against the Jaguars.
"He is a complete receiver," Newton said, who went on to rave about Benjamin's ability to also "block and be effective in the running game," saying: "You see Benji on his route and he tries to stick his nose in there and throw a block. It sets the tone for our team."