Herm Edwards: ASU’s Eno Benjamin got ideal landing spot with Cardinals

Apr 27, 2020, 8:43 AM

Running back Eno Benjamin #3 of the Arizona State Sun Devils rushes the football against the Utah U...

Running back Eno Benjamin #3 of the Arizona State Sun Devils rushes the football against the Utah Utes during the first half of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals seemed to follow a trend in the NFL Draft last week: They selected players who many thought would go much earlier than they did.

After Isaiah Simmons slid to the Cardinals at eighth overall and offensive tackle Josh Jones was still available all the way at 72nd overall, Arizona wound up with a local guy late, getting Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin in the seventh round. That didn’t match the pre-draft projections, nor the expectations of ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

“That was surprising,” Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Monday. “I felt he was going way higher than that. I don’t know about being a first-round pick or second, but I thought anywhere somewhere in the third, he would probably go. But then again, you never know why guys don’t go. It’s amazing.”

As Edwards pointed out, with Benjamin still on the board so late in the draft, he easily could’ve been taken by a team that wouldn’t afford him the same opportunity that he could get by just signing with the team of his choice as an undrafted free agent.

But by landing with Arizona, he’ll compete for a roster spot in a running backs room that includes Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds at the top of the depth chart and fellow Sun Devil D.J. Foster as depth.

“It’s important toward the end of the draft if you don’t get drafted, to at least sign at a place as a free agent where you have an opportunity to play,” Edwards said. “He couldn’t have landed at a better spot, to be quite honest. He’ll have the ability to make this team with the offense they run. He can come out of the backfield and catch the ball. They’re a spread offense. So he’s going to flourish in this offense. To be quite honest, he’s a pass-catcher.

“Not an every-down back, probably, for them, but can play on third down, he’s good in protection, and he’s motivated. Any player that doesn’t get drafted when they assume they’re going to get drafted, they’re always motivated. But I told players when I first took this job, that NFL thing, it’s real now. It’s the real deal.”

Clemson's Isaiah Simmons reacts after stopping Alabama's Najee Harris during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, North offensive tackle Josh Jones of Houston (70) plays during the second half of the Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala. Jones was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the NFL football draft Friday, April 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Fourth round (114th overall)

Utah DT Leki Fotu
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Fourth round (131st overall)

LSU DL Rashard Lawrence
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Sixth round (202nd overall)
California ILB Evan Weaver
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin, left, avoids a tackle by Oregon State defensive back Jaydon Grant during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

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