After being eased into the mix in his first two professional seasons, Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin could be on the verge of a breakout.
Last month, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury highlighted Benjamin's offseason improvement and said he has the look of someone who can be a starting running back.
More recently, Cardinals left guard Justin Pugh appeared on the "Dave Pasch Podcast" and talked up Benjamin, a 2020 seventh-round pick out of Arizona State.
“I think a guy to look for is Eno Benjamin,” Pugh said, via USA TODAY. “He looked great in minicamp. He’s probably been our best outside zone running back that we’ve had on the roster, even last year.”
In nine games in 2021, Benjamin rushed for 118 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries while adding six catches for 42 yards. With Chase Edmonds off to Miami, there is playing time available at running back behind projected starter James Conner.
Benjamin is trying to hold off former Chief Darrel Williams, 2022 sixth-round pick Keaontay Ingram and others in order to secure that No. 2 role.
His reported improvement in pass protection should help him in that competition.
“He had to learn how to pass protect,” Pugh told Pasch about Benjamin. “And that was really the only thing. You can’t trust a guy to be in the game if you can’t trust him to pick up pass protection and he’s gone night and day from last year to this year, so I think he’s going to have a big jump.”