From 2000 to 2003 the Arizona State Sun Devils enjoyed a streak of four straight years of having a player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. But since then Arizona State has only had two first round picks in Damarious Randall (2015) and N’Keal Harry (2019). But there is hope that a new streak can be started as star running back Eno Benjamin is now draft eligible and looking to build off an breakout 2018 that saw him rush for 1,642 yards and 16 touchdowns. Here we’ll take a look at what Eno Benjamin does well, concerns we have and what his NFL draft future may hold.
What Eno Benjamin Does Well
The first thing that you’ll notice watching Eno Benjamin is his explosive burst and ability to change directions. Having quickness is one thing but Benjamin is able to use that burst out of breaks making all the tougher to get your hands on him. Then you combine this with good vision and it’s no surprise why he was able to rush for over 1,600 yards this past season. Benjamin makes his living attacking the offense live with speed and then reading the hole and making strong cuts and bursting to where he needs to go. Whether it is a simple zone run where he puts a hard foot down and goes, a lateral jump cut to get to a hole or even stringing together two cuts together, if there is a hole Benjamin will utilize it.
There is not a lot of holes in Benjamin’s game as he is good at a lot of the good traits that running backs need but he still has a few that he is average at. Long speed isn’t the end of the world as Benjamin’s quickness and lateral agility are far more important, but there are times where he lacks that extra gear that would allow him to hit the home runs instead of the doubles. Benjamin could stand to add a big of weight as 201lbs is still below average for an NFL running back, but that can come with time.
NFL Draft Outlook
Having quickness, lateral agility and burst for a running back to go along with a good size frame it’s clear that Eno Benjamin is in the top tier for draft eligible running backs. The problem is that for a running back to go in the first round they often times have to be special. Benjamin is good but he’s not on the same level as an Ezekiel Elliott or Saquan Barkley. The question is whether Benjamin can be seen as the same level of talent as a Josh Jacobs. While I like Benjamin’s skill set and his initial grade is a late 1st/early 2nd rounder the fact that the junior class also has Travis Etienne, D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor only means teams the abundance of quality talent could push these running backs into the second round.