Arizona Cardinals select ASU's Eno Benjamin in NFL draft

Eno Benjamin
Posted at 7:30 PM, Apr 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-25 22:39:33-04

He’s certainly no stranger around these parts. Eno Benjamin is just moving from one Tempe headquarters to another after the former Arizona State running back was selected in the 7th round by the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.

"I think I fit right in, and I'm very excited to be a part of this team," said Benjamin, who became the first ASU player drafted by the Cardinals since Pat Tillman in 1998.

Benjamin rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons for the Sun Devils, while racking up nearly 3,400 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns.

Benjamin participated in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and met with the Cardinals multiple times during the process, so he had an idea staying close to his alma mater was a possibility. Waiting until the 222nd pick was just a lot later than he expected to be drafted.

"It wasn't playing out the way we expected it to, but at the end of the day, I knew all I needed was one shot, one opportunity," he said.

Some mock drafts had Benjamin going late, or even undrafted, while others had him off the board in the third round, which is where he said he was expecting to go. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was also expecting Benjamin to be gone long before the Cardinals 7th round pick.

"The value in the 7th round, and a player that can do a number of things for you," Keim said. "[We're] really excited about him."

The Cardinals had a need at running back after David Johnson was shipped to Houston for DeAndre Hopkins in a lopsided trade last month. Benjamin will join a running back group that includes Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds, and another former ASU ball carrier in D.J. Foster.

"I'm looking to go in there and do anything I can to contribute to the team success right off the bat," Benjamin said.

Benjamin said he's comfortable with the Cardinals offense, having played in the spread in college and high school. He is also familiar with Kliff Kingsbury who tried to recruit him to Texas Tech.

"He's very durable, very productive, a tough runner," Kingsbury said. "Last year we got to about week six and were down to our third back, that's when we made the trade for Kenyan. We wanted to bring in a young guy that can learn from two backs that we're very high on and be a productive part of the team, and we think Eno fills that need."

Benjamin is now the 7th player on the Cardinals roster with ties to the state of Arizona.

"I can't tell you how proud it makes me to take Arizona State players, Arizona local kids," Keim said. "It just feels special to me."