After waiting to be drafted, Eno Benjamin ready to suit up for Cardinals

Apr 26, 2020, 8:00 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2020, 9:06 am
Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin reacts after scoring a touchdown against Colorado during th...

Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin reacts after scoring a touchdown against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

While it took longer than expected for Eno Benjamin to receive the call that he had been drafted, the former Arizona State Sun Devil running back may have found the perfect landing spot.

Projected as a potential Day 2 pick by some, Benjamin was drafted on Day 3 of the NFL Draft in the seventh round (222nd overall) by the Arizona Cardinals.

“It wasn’t panning out the way we were expecting it to, but at the end of the day, I knew all I needed was one shot, one opportunity,” Benjamin said in a conference call.

After the Carolina Panthers drafted CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver, the Arizona Cardinals were on the clock and Benjamin finally got that call.

“I just grabbed my phone and felt my phone vibrating. I knew from there the 602 number was Arizona and it gave me a good feeling right off the bat,” Benjamin recalled.

Being drafted by the team that plays only 26 miles away from his old collegiate stadium is a benefit for Benjamin, both for knowledge and comfort.

“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,” Benjamin said.

“I’ve seen what’s going on with the Cardinals as far as Coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Kyler (Murray) pieces. I’ve been watching the offense and seeing how it goes. I think I’d fit right in and I’m very excited to be a part of this team,” he added.

The former Sun Devil has a lot more in common with the Cardinals than just playing college ball in the same area.

Kingsbury, a former Texas Tech head coach, recruited Benjamin. That prior relationship helped with less in-person meetings due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“A lot of players weren’t able to go out there and meet coaches, sit down with them,” Benjamin said.

“So I think Coach Kliff Kingsbury was able to lean on that prior relationship that we had … and trust that,” he added.

Kingsbury said he followed Benjamin’s success in Tempe, where he rushed for 2,867 yards with 27 touchdowns in 34 games as a Sun Devil.

“He’s very durable, very productive, tough runner,” Kingsbury said.

In addition to knowing the coach, Benjamin also grew up in the same area as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback.

“Kyler (Murray) is one of those guys that I have a pretty good relationship with,” Benjamin said. “Growing up kind of in the same area of Texas I’ve been able to see him play, we talk every now and then when we see each other.”

Along with the personal and geographic benefits of being drafted by the Cardinals, he saw the team as an opportunity to play before the draft took place.

“I visited them multiple times throughout the combine process, so I knew that it was a very legit option,” Benjamin said.

“There were a few teams as far as knowing the fit and knowing where they stand as far as needing a running back that we were looking at and the Arizona Cardinals were one of them,” he added.

Benjamin joins a depth chart that features Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds and former Arizona State running back D.J. Foster.

David Johnson, last season’s featured back at the start of the season for the Cardinals, was traded to the Houston Texans in the offseason for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after his role with the team diminished.

Benjamin said he is looking to contribute to the team’s success right off the bat since the team runs a lot of spread offense, something he’s felt comfortable doing in college and high school.

Kingsbury, meanwhile, said the team wanted to bring in someone to learn from Drake and Edmonds and be a productive part of the team.

“We think Eno (Benjamin) fills that need,” Kingsbury said.

The learning already started before the draft, as Benjamin said he had been running routes with Edmonds during the offseason.

Even though Benjamin’s draft position wasn’t as high as he and others thought it was going to be, he says he can’t be mad at other teams.

“I felt like teams thought they had some more important people they needed to pick up in front of me and that’s what they did,” Benjamin said.

“I’m forever grateful that I got the opportunity to get drafted and play the sport that I love once again,” he added.

Life Changer Loans


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

FILE - Green Bay Packers tight end Josiah Deguara, third from right, rides a young fan's bike as th...
Associated Press

NFL looks like old self entering 3rd season in COVID-19 era

The NFL is looking and acting like it's essentially back to normal going into its third season dealing with COVID-19.
24 hours ago
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: QB Kyler Murray weighs in on fake Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray gave his two cents on a certain impersonation from the rookie talent show.
24 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill. (Tyler Drake / Arizona Sports)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Michael Bidwill looks forward to season, Cardinals’ helmets, Super Bowl LVII

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has a bit to look forward to in the coming season.
24 hours ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals walks across the field before a preseason game against the...
Tyler Drake

Kyler Murray saw different side of football as Cardinals’ guest play caller

Kyler Murray went from good teammate to the man in charge of calling plays in the Cardinals' preseason win over the Bengals.
24 hours ago
Head coach Kliff Kingbury of the Arizona Cardinals participants in a team training camp at State Fa...
Dan Bickley

Kliff Kingsbury biggest winner of Cardinals’ start to preseason

Dan Bickley writes that Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is the biggest winner out of the team's preseason win over the Bengals.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Greg Dortch (83) runs in the first quarter against the Arizona Card...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals’ Greg Dortch determined to prove he belongs in NFL

After a murky start to his NFL career, Cardinals WR Greg Dortch is making the most of his opportunities this offseason.
2 days ago
After waiting to be drafted, Eno Benjamin ready to suit up for Cardinals