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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Trey Benson

This contrast from last year to this year's NFL Draft running back class is fascinating. Bijan Robinson was considered the consensus No. 1 guy long before he was ever picked by the Atlanta Falcons. This year, things are much more wide open, with guys like Blake Corum, Johnathon Brooks, Bucky Irving, and Will Shipley in the mix to be RB1, just to name a few.

Well, let me introduce you to Florida State's Trey Benson, who's laid waste to many an ACC defense over the last two years. Starting his college career at Oregon, Benson suffered a catastrophic knee injury that knocked him out for his freshman campaign and was then only used on six carries as a sophomore. Transferring across coasts to play for Mike Norvell, Benson went on to amass nearly 1900 yards on 310 carries as a Seminole, as well as 23 rushing touchdowns. But with the knee injury in mind, where does that leave his draft stock as we officially begin combine week?

Player Bio

Name: Trey Benson

Jersey: No. 3 (No. 1 at Oregon)

Position: Running Back

School: Florida State by way of Oregon

Class: Redshirt Junior 

Height: 6'1" 

Weight: 223 lbs 

Games Watched: vs. Boston College and Clemson (2022), vs. LSU, The U, and Clemson (2023) (All at Florida State)

Major Injury History: Benson suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus in a 2020 preseason practice, resulting in him playing no games as a true freshman.

Player Breakdown

Vision (13/15)

I don't recall many times where Benson wasn't finding holes or simply misjudging gaps as a runner. It also helps that he was frequently able to process and hit those holes on time, which explains the over six yards per carry he had in two seasons at Florida State. Also somewhat on topic, Benson is 100 percent scheme versatile between gap and zone offenses.

Contact Balance (14.75/15)

Benson is the kind of back who simply refuses to go down on first contact, and that became abundantly clear not even a full game into seeing film. Watching ACC and then LSU defenders fail repeatedly to bring him down was to the point where it was comical. Benson's lower body strength is a major strength of his game, so whether he's dishing out or receiving contact, he'll usually find a way to extend plays. 118 missed tackles over the last two years by the way, and runs like you see below were common.

Explosiveness (8.5/10)

With his size, power, and speed combination, Benson does have a fair amount of pop to his game, even after a catastrophic knee injury. He's not the fastest back in this class, but if given space and some room to maneuver downfield, have fun trying to bring him down with a full head of steam.

Long Speed (8/10)

I wouldn't classify Benson as a burner, but for a guy weighing around 220 lbs, his highest gear looked pretty fast once he found some open field, as you can see above. He also has a kick return to his name, coming against Boston College in 2022.

Short-Area Burst (8.5/10)

Speed right off the bat is more Benson's game than being a track star. He hits holes in short order, and where he lacks in high-end speed, he simply makes up for it by being super hard to tackle. Not the worst trade-off for a guy who's 6'1" and over 220 lbs.

Change of Direction (5.5/10)

Benson is certainly capable of playing the east-west game as a runner and can make guys miss, but he has below-average hip fluidity and can be guilty of playing with a high pad level on occasion, which certainly didn't help at times. I wonder how much directional ability he lost after the knee injury, but his game is certainly more north-south anyway.

Power (9.75/10)

This score feels self-explanatory, given his size and what he's put out there. If you're familiar with the term angry runs, Benson has a ton on his resume and is by no means afraid to initiate contact with defenders. All in all, I can't blame some of these linebackers or defensive backs for being unable to bring him down.

Ball Security (9.25/10)

Having 316 college carries to his name, Benson not once recorded a fumble at either Florida State or Oregon. With his play style, I wouldn't be shocked if he occasionally loses the rock at the next level, but the keyword there is occasionally. Remember kids, ball security is job security.

Receiving Ability (6/10)

While Benson has some upside as a pass catcher, especially in the YAC department, his present route tree leaves a lot to be desired, and he only has 33 career receptions. He was mostly limited to wheel routes and shallow/flats out of the backfield, and I only saw him run hitches when they occasionally split him out wide or in the slot, so I don't see him being a considerable pass-catching option right away. With that said, one of the plays I saw was this impressive sideline wire walk job against Clemson.

Pass Blocking (2/5)

In this five-game sample size, I didn't get an abundance of opportunities to see Benson work in pass pro, but I can describe the occasions I did as good, not great. The biggest thing I can say is he certainly has the build to develop into an above-average pass blocker as far as running backs go, but it was a mixed bag in what I saw.

Player Summary

I don't think it's a stretch to say the knee injury Benson suffered in 2020 will hurt his stock (not factored into this score), but as far as what he put up at Florida State, Benson is as good a running back as you'll find in this draft class. A whole heap of teams could use a violent north-south runner just like him, even with some room to grow as a pass protector and expand his ability as a pass catcher mainly, I'm a big fan of what Benson did over the last two years. It'll just be a matter of how teams feel about the knee to know how long he'll stay on the board.

Rookie Projection: Early Down Workhorse

Third-Year Projection: Every Down Workhorse

Final Grade (85.25/100): Early-2nd Round Talent

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