Eagles would be wise to keep an eye on Eno Benjamin versus Cardinals

Eno Benjamin #26, Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Eno Benjamin #26, Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.”– Benjamin Franklin, 1756 

Let’s get something straight. There’s no reason to love the Arizona Cardinals, and most Philadelphia Eagles fans don’t. Maybe it stems from all of that time they spent in the NFC East. Maybe there’s some added emotion because the Cards are the Eagles’ next opponent.

Whatever the case is, Philly fans may want to take notice of running back Eno Benjamin. He’s someone that Arizona can use in a multitude of ways.

Thanks to James Conner, he’s flown under the radar. That could change this week however. He’s someone the Cards could move on from.

Here’s some background on Eno Benjamin (and a few reasons why he could cause problems for the Eagles).

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade!” – Benjamin Franklin, 1750

In 2018, Eno Benjamin had 16 touchdowns and a school record of 300 carries for the Arizona State Sun Devils. He was a third-team All-American and a First-Team All-Pac-12 nod. The yardage he gained led to him being ranked fifth in the nation and a team MVP.

He had fewer carries in 2019. He still managed 12 touchdowns and 42 receptions. He averaged 8.3 yards per catch, and that led to him earning a second All-Pac-12 selection.

“No gains without pains.” -Benjamin Franklin, 1745

Eno Benjamin was taken in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft but was deemed inactive for the duration of his rookie season. In 2021, with Chase Edmonds already on the roster, the Cardinals signed free agent running back James Conner to a three-year deal worth $21 million, and he stacked 752 yards and 15 touchdowns en route to becoming Arizona’s primary back.

Benjamin struggled to get on the field and ended his season having only gained 118 yards on 34 carries over the span of nine games.

“It is better to take many injuries than to give one.” -Benjamin Franklin, 1735

James Conner gets hurt a lot. He’s missed 14 games in the past four years as he’s dealt with everything from injuries to his shoulder to others with his ankle, quad, and heel. He’s currently dealing with another ankle issue that forced him to sit out in Week 2.

He should be good for this week’s game, but another injury could open the door for Eno.

“Haste makes waste.” -Benjamin Franklin, 1753

If Conner struggles for any reason, the Cardinals won’t hesitate to plug in Benjamin. He may have gotten a third of the carries that Conner has earned, but their receiving stats are much closer.  Darrel Williams is the only other Cardinals back to catch a pass this year. He has two receptions for three yards on his resume.

“When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.” -Benjamin Franklin, 1748

While playing in a reserve role, Benjamin has found other ways to help his team. Last week, he assumed kickoff duties from Matt Prater, kicking three times for an average of 52.6 yards per kick.

He’s also done double-duty as a returner as he’s returned two kicks for over 40 yards each. This puts him just outside the top ten for total return yards and yards per return.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin, 1790

It may seem like overkill to worry about an opponent’s second-string running back, especially one averaging five carries per game, but given James Conner’s injury history, you can bet defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon has a contingency plan for Eno Benjamin.

With Philly’s struggles on special teams this year, this is someone to prepare for. Guys like this wreck games and ruin weekends, and if the Eagles, for any reason lose track of Number 26 in red, the results will most certainly be costly.