It took a while, but FSU finally got something out of Kelvin Benjamin. A big something, in the form of 54 catches, 1011 yards and 15(!!) touchdowns. How in the world do you replace Kelvin Benjamin?
Evenflow58: You don't. Finding the type of athleticism to go with that body type is tough. Finding a player like that to buy in is even tougher. Surrounding him with other potent receivers and preventing defenses from always rolling to his side is near impossible. While Benjamin was a very good WR, he was, in part, a very good WR because of the amount of talent around him. The great thing about this year is that FSU doesn't need to replace Benjamin. Teams will roll their coverage over Greene and NOL so the younger WRs just need to get open and be on the same page as Winston, which is a great way of bringing them along and will increase the odds FSU find's "the next Kelvin Benjamin".
Salukinole: The simple answer is there is not one wide receiver on the roster that can single handedly replace Benjamin. Instead, it will be a group of receivers on the roster who will be expected to take advantage of the additional attention that Rashad Greene will receive. I think the receivers that will be asked to step up to try and replace KB's role would Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane.
Alan Mundy: There is nobody on the roster who can fill that void this year. The production will have to be reproduced in the aggregate. With that being said, a lot of Kelvin's production, especially in the UF game, was due to team's bracketing of Rashad Greene. They moved Greene around a lot in the spring game and I expect that to be the case in the fall as well. They'll play him in the slot and at X when he's played almost exclusively Z in his FSU career.
Florida State season preview
Florida State season preview
Bud: I think you have to do it with the running game. Benjamin was excellent in the red zone and on third down. He didn't have a ton of explosive plays, but he kept the punt and field goal team off the field. If FSU can run the football even better than it did in 2013, it will be able to help some. But I don't see a receiver who will be able to do close to what Benjamin did with his physicality and the ability to work in confined spaces.
Not having one, by the way, isn't an FSU problem. It's an every team problem. Players like Benjamin don't come along very often. And though it took him quite a while to put it together, once he did, he was pretty much unstoppable down the stretch.
Also, I don't believe Isaiah Jones was going to fill this role. I'm told that his strong spring game did not match up with his performances in practice.
DA-2: Like said above, you just don't. Maybe Ermon Lane can put in a somewhat similar role down the road, but I don't see Lane doing that this year. I really expect Nick O'Leary to be relied on even more. Senior year and one of Winston's favorite targets. I also expect the RB position to pick up some of that slack. Whether that be more run plays or more designed screens, dump offs, some combination of Williams, Pender, Cook will get their fair share of touches.
FSU: Completely agree with Bud here, being able to run the football mitigates some of the loss of Benjamin and should keep the offense "on schedule" down and distance wise. In terms of the passing game, moving Greene around and allowing Ruldolph or O'Leary to exploit soft spots in the defense also may be an option as well.
It's the "Moneyball" approach, you're not looking to replace a single Benjamin, you're looking to replace the threat conceptually to the defense. You can do that with formation to influence and with personnel groupings (because the personnel Florida State is throwing out there is uber talented).
Onebarrelrum: Agree with everyone here. You don't replace Benjamin. He was a mismatch with anyone he lined up against, especially in the redzone. His freakish size meant a lot of passes were caught where other WRs would have had no chance. I think we'll see more 2 TE sets. I think Haplea will be a decent receiving TE, and both he and O'Leary should be serviceable blockers. O'Leary had 577 yards receiving last year. Would not be surprised to see him at 800 or so. Look for even more targets for him in the redzone.