Keeping it local: Cardinals nab ASU running back Eno Benjamin

Apr 25, 2020, 2:44 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm
Eno Benjamin (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Eno Benjamin (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin doesn’t have to pick up and move if he still has digs in Tempe. On Saturday, the Arizona Cardinals took him 222nd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, using their seventh-round pick on the back they’re likely quite familiar with.

Benjamin joins a backfield that includes Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds and fellow ASU product D.J. Foster.

Benjamin became the second ASU player to get drafted in 2020 after receiver Brandon Aiyuk went 25th overall to the San Francisco 49ers.

Projected as a potential Day 2 pick by some, Benjamin found himself waiting longer than expected Saturday. He sat in the top-five of ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s best available list most of Saturday afternoon.

“I thought I’d be taken yesterday at some point during the third round,” Benjamin said. “Because of that day, I was thinking today I’d get drafted pretty early. It didn’t turn out that way, but I’m forever grateful that I got the opportunity to get drafted and play the sport that I love once again.

“It’s just that much of an easier transition for me being able to go and move right down the road from where I played in college.”

The running back is the first Sun Devil drafted by the Cardinals since 1998, when Arizona used a seventh-round pick on the late Pat Tillman.

“It kind of shook me to my core, knowing who he is and what he’s done,” Benjamin said on a conference call.

Benjamin, a junior in 2019, led the Sun Devils in yards from scrimmage with 1,430, the second year in a row that he’s had over 1,000 yards. He finished his ASU career with 3,492 yards, the bulk of those on the ground, and most of them coming in his sophomore and junior seasons.

His career year was in 2018, when he had 1,905 yards from scrimmage, and broke the school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,642. He also broke ASU’s record for rushing yards in a game when he had 312 against Oregon State.

His 2019 campaign behind a young offensive line was plenty productive, too. In 12 games, Benjamin had 12 touchdowns and six games of triple-digit rushing yards.

Even as a freshman in 2017, the Wylie, Texas, native got carries in 10 games despite being behind NFL prospects Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard on the depth chart. Benjamin was a consensus four-star prospect coming out of high school.

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray #1 and Justin Pugh #67 of the Arizona Cardinals react after a penalty during the secon...
Arizona Sports

ESPN: OL Justin Pugh is Arizona Cardinals’ most underrated player

ESPN posted a list made by Football Outsiders of every team's most underrated player, and Justin Pugh was selected to represent the Cardinals.
1 day ago
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball during the game against the Los Ange...
Tyler Drake

NFC West offseason outlook: The San Francisco 49ers

The offseason has twisted and turned not only for the Cardinals but for the rest of the NFC West. A look at the current state of the 49ers:
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters (98) walks out before an NFL game between the Arizo...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Doug Kyed advises Arizona Cardinals to bring back DL Corey Peters

With the Cardinals' current roster construction, PFF's Doug Kyed believes Arizona should bring DL Corey Peters back once more in 2022.
3 days ago
Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (77) protects his quarterback during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Cardinals take OT Paris Johnson Jr. in ESPN 2023 NFL mock draft

ESPN's Matt Miller thinks the Cardinals will beef up the offensive line in his first 2023 mock by selecting Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
5 days ago
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrate after an NFL foo...
Wills Rice’s Patra ranks Cardinals’ cornerbacks among weakest rooms in league

The Cardinals enter training camp with a few question marks personnel-wise on the defensive side of the ball, especially at cornerback.
6 days ago
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Sam Graveline

PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals head into training camp expecting to have healthy competition at a handful of positions, including at tight end.
7 days ago
Keeping it local: Cardinals nab ASU running back Eno Benjamin