Travis Benjamin finishes rookie minicamp strong

The fourth-round pick from the University of Miami made a nice catch in front of the goal line, turned and scored in the final minutes of practice Sunday on the final day of rookie minicamp. The catch was made more difficult because a defensive back darted in front at the last second trying for the interception.

Benjamin’s weekend began Friday morning with a couple of simple drops, but coach Pat Shurmur said it was too early to get down on him. On Sunday, Shurmur said he expects Benjamin to compete for a significant role in 2012.

“I would say so,” Shurmur said. “I saw a lot of good stuff from Travis this weekend and I feel like he’ll only continue to get better.”

Benjamin was the only addition in free agency or the draft to a maligned receiving corps. He is undersized at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds with hair thicker than his legs, but has world-class speed and changes directions smoothly.

“He’s a speed guy, he’s one of those guys that you don’t expect all of that coming from a smaller guy,” running back Trent Richardson said. “But he plays like a grown man and he is a grown man out there. He plays with a lot of heart.

“With a guy like Travis, you can just throw it up anywhere and he can go get it. That’s good for your team.”

Quarterback Brandon Weeden said he started to develop a rapport with Benjamin.

“The guy can really fly,” Weeden said. “And they had him moving around a bit, playing some different positions. Travis is a real good player.”
Benjamin caught 41 passes for 609 yards and three touchdowns as a senior. He totaled 131 for 2,146 and 13 in his career.

His route running needs work, and the coaches stressed precision during drills. It paid off with a few nice completions along the sideline from Weeden.

“I’ve been working on it,” Benjamin said.

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