CARDINALS CORNER

Eno Benjamin headlines Arizona Cardinals players to watch vs. Bengals

Aug 11, 2022, 5:45 PM
Arizona Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin runs through drills during training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022...
Arizona Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin runs through drills during training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE — If you’re planning on watching Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray lead the way against the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday, you won’t have much luck.

And no, the quarterback didn’t lose his starting role.

With the plan to roll out those jostling for position on the depth chart, a majority of Arizona’s projected starters won’t play against Cincinnati.

But just because most of the projected first-team won’t get any run doesn’t mean there aren’t Cardinals of interest in the team’s first preseason game.

A look at what to watch over the course of Friday’s preseason action:

RB Eno Benjamin

Time to put all the offseason talk to the test.

Running back Eno Benjamin has earned the respect and praise from numerous players and coaches this offseason. Now, he’ll get the first start of the preseason.

After slowly but surely getting more run over the course of his short career, Benjamin has a real shot at taking over RB2 duties behind undisputed starter James Conner.

It’s an impressive trajectory for the running back, who appears to be holding off the versatile Darrel Williams for that No. 2 spot.

Benjamin has been a regular standout at camp this year, whether it’s running the rock or showing off his pass catching. He’s also improved in his pass protection, something he and Conner work with the offensive line on a regular basis.

Another name to keep tabs on in the running backs room is rookie Keaontay Ingram, who is fighting to crack one of the final roster spots in the RBs room. On top off adding his fair share of highlights throughout camp, the RB was among the top Red & White practice standouts in the eyes of head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

WRs Greg Dortch, Andy Isabella and Victor Bolden Jr.

With A.J. Green, Antoine Wesley and DeAndre Hopkins not getting a full workload this training camp, a handful of wide receivers lower on the totem pole have gotten more chances.

Leading the way out of that group is none other than Greg Dortch, who is listed as a starting wideout spots for Friday night. The wide receiver continues to stack practices and at this point should have a roster spot locked up.

And on top of his highlights in the receiving game, Dortch is also listed as a starter in the return game against the Bengals.

Alongside Dortch on the depth chart sit Andre Baccellia and Andy Isabella.

Baccellia hasn’t had that same type of big-play aura that has hovered around Dortch throughout camp, but has seen more reps as the offseason progresses.

Isabella has produced at times, including a three-touchdown effort last Friday, but is lacking that same consistency Dortch has brought to camp.

Not slated to start but another player to watch is Victor Bolden Jr., who is behind Isabella on the depth chart.

Bolden is another guy that has turned heads and appears comfortable in the offense despite it being his first season in Arizona. He’s also pegged as the team’s No. 2 return option behind Dortch.

CBs Marco Wilson, Antonio Hamilton and Christian Matthew

Cornerback has remained a hot topic all offseason for the Cardinals.

It heated up even more this past week when Kingsbury acknowledged the “jury’s still out” as whether or not cornerback Marco Wilson can step up and be an every-down starter.

And while the comments could just be a coaching tactic to kick Wilson into gear, it’s far from a vote of confidence in a player many already had locked into a starting role alongside Byron Murphy Jr.

Instead, it’s been Antonio Hamilton who has gotten high praise.

Now, the two will compete side-by-side as starters come Friday, with Josh Jackson pegged as a backup.

Outside of that trio, rookie Christian Matthew should also be on your radar, especially given Kingsbury’s positive remarks on the CB’s growth on Wednesday.

ILB Zaven Collins

Along with Wilson, potential starters Zaven Collins and Dennis Gardeck are expected to get some run on Friday.

Of the three, Collins will likely command the most eyeballs given his NFL trajectory, and rightfully so.

Despite Jordan Hicks’ departure to Minnesota this offseason, the path of being that every-down starter Arizona envisioned with drafting Collins hasn’t cleared like many thought it would. Playing in the team’s first preseason game while nearly all the other starters sit out adds even more to the narrative that the Cardinals need to see more from their second-year pro.

The biggest things to watch in terms of Collins is how he performs as the team’s MIKE backer and how much he lines up elsewhere on the field.

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