Carolina Panthers

Round 5, Pick 148: Panthers select ... Bene Benwikere

Bene Benwikere

Height: 5-11 Weight: 195 pounds

Position: Cornerback

College: San Jose State

What he offers: Benwikere offers a ballhawk in the Panthers’ defensive backfield after nabbing 12 interceptions in his final two seasons. Benwikere had one of the best vertical jumps of all defensive backs at the combine at 40 1/2 inches, and he’ll be able to compete for jump balls.

Why he fits: Benwikere immediately fits as an option for the Panthers at nickel. After losing Captain Munnerlyn to free agency, the Panthers could look for Benwikere to fill that position. His leaping ability also makes him a desirable pick in an NFC South with some very big receivers like Julio Jones, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Jimmy Graham.

Worth mentioning: He recorded seven interceptions in his junior season, which tied him for third nationally at .53 per game. He had four interceptions going into the final game of the regular season when he picked off Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron three times--all in the second half.

Bet you didn’t know: Benwikere’s father was born in Nigeria and came to the United States when he was 19. He went to Oklahoma State to play soccer, but the Cowboys’ soccer program was cut from the athletic department while he was there.

What they’re saying: “Speaking to several scouts about Benewikere, most have raved about his size, cover skills and instincts, but the prevailing concern centered on his tackling and toughness. Some believed he didn’t attack runners or receivers on the perimeter; he will need to display better courage and toughness to solidify his status as a top corner in the draft.” -Bucky Brooks,

Jonathan Jones

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