Kelvin Benjamin makes preseason debut, catches great touchdown

Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson learned on Friday night what Cam Newton will figure out soon: Just throw the ball up to big rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin and watch him come down with it.

Benjamin, the first-round pick of the Panthers and a player the team hopes can be Newton's No. 1 target for years to come, made a memorable debut. Benjamin beat 2012 first-round pick Stephon Gilmore down the sideline, he stumbled a bit as Anderson lofted up a pass to him, but as he was going to the ground he showed remarkable concentration to haul in a 29-yard touchdown pass. It's also noteworthy that he beat Gilmore bad enough that the stumble didn't even matter.

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Newton didn't start, as he's still recovering from ankle surgery, but he had to be happy to see that from the sideline. The Panthers haven't done a ton to support Newton in his short career, and the pick of Benjamin was not universally praised because the Panthers need help now and Benjamin is considered pretty raw.

And that might be true, but he has the physical ability to make plays like he did in his first preseason action. With a quarterback as talented as Newton, he might do just fine as he learns on the job.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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