Appearing on Dave Pasch’s podcast, Pugh put the football-following world on notice that Benjamin could be on the verge of becoming much better known than he currently is.
“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.”
As a seventh-round rookie from Arizona State, Benjamin appeared in nine games. He had 34 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown, along with six catches for 42 yards. Benjamin’s path to more playing time, as Pugh explained it, comes from his ability to pick up blitzers.
“He had to learn how to pass protect,” Pugh said. “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.”
Every year, college football produces dozens of tailbacks who can move the chains at the next level. The three keys are: (1) competent blocking; (2) ball security; and (3) blitz pickup. Now that Benjamin has gotten the third category under control, maybe he’ll becoming the perfect complement for James Conner. Maybe, in time, Benjamin will become the top option on the depth chart.