Draft pick Eno Benjamin joins Cardinals RBs room with open mind

Apr 30, 2020, 5:07 PM

Arizona State's Eno Benjamin runs against Oregon defenders during the first quarter of an NCAA coll...

Arizona State's Eno Benjamin runs against Oregon defenders during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

(AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

The saga that was the Arizona Cardinals running backs room in 2019 became a trending storyline.

The David Johnson fantasy football controversy, injuries that led to the signings of players like Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner, and the emergence of Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds made it a recurring drama. But that dust has settled some, Johnson is on a new team and the Cardinals drafted Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin this weekend to add depth at that position.

“When you watch him on tape, he’s got some stop and start quickness, some lateral jump and cut ability,” GM Steve Keim told SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Monday. “He’s got some tools to get you excited. He’s runs with toughness.

“And to be able to see him week in and week out, I went to a number of their games. Just seeing him locally here, I’m really excited about what he can do, and some of the things in particular in Kliff’s offense. I feel like we have three backs now with Chase Edmonds and Kenyan Drake and now Eno Benjamin that really can do some different things for you schematically.”

So how will he fit into the offense? Only time will tell on that, but there are a few things that stand out right away.

For one, there are physical traits like speed and size. ASU listed Benjamin at 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, while Kenyan Drake is 6-foot-1, 211 pounds and Edmonds is 5-foot-9, 210 pounds.

All three have racked up some receiving yards on the scoresheet while getting the bulk of their production on runs. Benjamin had 1,083 rushing yards and 347 receiving yards at ASU in 2019.

“I think I would be used as a type of guy that Chase was used the previous years,” Benjamin told reporters in a video call on Wednesday. “Just kind of as a rotational guy, just a guy who’s going to be called and gets whatever needs to be done done. That’s as far as I know about that. Just going in head down and just working to earn my right to be able to get on that field.

“I think it’s just willing to do whatever it takes to win and succeed. When I was in high school, I was never the first guy, I had to work my way up. When I got to college, I was not the first guy, I had to work my way up. It’s just that same mentality. You start off at the bottom and you work your way to the top.”

Benjamin was projected to go in the middle rounds, but instead, he was selected all the way in the seventh round — 222nd overall. This is despite having a monster sophomore year in 2018 with 1,905 yards from scrimmage in an offense that also had eventual first-round pick N’Keal Harry.

Despite sliding, Benjamin doesn’t second-guess his decision to enter the draft as a junior.

“Do I think back about my decision as far as coming out? No sir,” he said. “At the end of the day, I understand that football is one day going to be over. Knowing a guy as far as my shelf life at my position, I know it doesn’t last long. How ever long football lasts me — hopefully the next 10, 15 years — I have a degree in my back pocket and I’ll be ready to step out there and conquer the real world.”

Head coach Herm Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf this week that Benjamin fits well in Arizona.

“I think it’s not necessarily where you go in the draft but who you go to. So I think I’ve landed at the spot where I think I can help this team be successful in the future.”

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