The future of the running back position for the Arizona Cardinals is in question, as Kenyan Drake is playing this season on the one-year transition tag tender and Chase Edmonds has just two years left remaining on his rookie contract. However, seventh-round pick Eno Benjamin, a running back selected out of Arizona State, might just be the Cardinals’ gem of the draft.
Benjamin was projected to get drafted as high as the third round, but he fell all the way to the seventh, giving him great value for the Cardinals. In three years for the Sun Devils, Benjamin racked up nearly 3,000 rushing yards with 27 touchdowns. He not only put on an impressive showing in the run game, but he was a reliable asset in the receiving game, recording over 600 yards and four touchdowns. These stats might not be impressive, but it shows just how capable Benjamin is in the passing game. He is everything you want in an NFL running back. He could develop into a reliable asset in the passing game for the Cardinals.
Eno Benjamin has the talent to not only come in and compete, but also be in the Cardinals backfield long-term. Even though receiver Brandon Aiyuk, drafted in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers, was the top weapon for Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels, Benjamin played a crucial role in that offense. He was the heart and soul of that run game and was a leader for the Sun Devils offense.
Now, with every rookie comes weaknesses and one of the biggest ones for Benjamin was his consistency in the passing game. This is an area where Benjamin will need the most grooming. To start, he is not the most diverse route runner. He needs to have more of an expanded route tree for the Cardinals to feel confident in using him in the passing game.
Benjamin is also more of a chip blocker, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if he relies on that skill, he will have a tough time getting by with it in the NFL, as he might have to face guys like Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa twice a year.
Unlike several running backs in this draft class, Benjamin’s 4.70 speed is not something that will wow you. He is not a running back that is tough to catch down the field. However, Benjamin’s shiftiness is a unique trait of his that should translate well into the NFL.
Benjamin is also a bit undersized, standing at 5-foot-9 and 222 pounds. But that doesn’t seem to affect his game much, as he is still a powerhouse in the run game and will still make defenders pay.
Isaiah Simmons might have been the Cardinals’ steal of the draft, but they are really getting something special in Eno Benjamin and for the future of their run game. He has all the tools and skillset to help the Cardinals succeed.