From the sound of Kliff Kingsbury’s press conferences, Arizona’s backup running back might not be Darrel Williams or Keontay Ingram. Kingsbury says he likes what he’s seen out of Eno Benjamin.
USA Today writer Jess Root says that twice during training camp, Kingsbury brought up Benjamin as a player who’s impressed him.
“Eno Benjamin has been tremendous,” Kingsbury said. “Another guy who never had an offseason and he’s out there and looks like he could be a starting running back.”
Chase Edmonds signed with Miami, so Arizona is in need of a running back to pair with James Conner. They need a change-of-pace back, and they’ll probably need somebody who can step into the starting lineup at some point. Conner has been in the league for five years, and he’s missed at least two games in each of those seasons.
Arizona signed Williams to a modest free agent deal; he led Kansas City in rushing last year, but it didn’t make any effort to re-sign him. In Kansas City’s final playoff game last year, he was the third-string running back (behind Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire).
The Cardinals drafted Keontay Ingram in the sixth round, but it’s rare for a player selected that late to make much of an impact, especially as a rookie. (Unless they’re drafted by a Shanahan-coached team, then those guys have been very good – Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Alfred Morris, Elijah Mitchell were all picked in the sixth round.)
Benjamin was a seventh-round pick a year ago. He didn’t make a big impact as a rookie carrying 34 times for 118 yards and a touchdown while catching 6 of the 7 passes thrown his way. But Kingsbury’s comments suggest Benjamin has been working on his game and is playing with more confidence now.
Benjamin ran for 2,725 yards and 26 TDs in his final two seasons at Arizona State while also catching 77 passes for 610 yards and 4 TDs in those 25 games. He’s not real big (5-9, 207), but neither was Edmonds.
As mentioned before in this space, the Cardinals tend to use the run more around the goal line than other teams. Only four teams have scored at least 18 rushing touchdowns in each of the last three years, and Arizona is one of them.
|MOST RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS (last 3 yrs)|