Running back is a notoriously tricky position to scout. The fact of the matter is that running backs come in all shapes and sizes, from (relatively) small scat-backs to massive power backs.
Somewhere in the middle are the generalists; runners who are good at a lot but don’t take any one aspect of their game to an extreme. They can have some measure of success in many situations, but they tend to not stand out as much as the blazing 4.2 speedster or the thundering power back.
Florida State runner Trey Benson is one of those generalists who’s good at almost everything, but falls just short of being exceptional in any one thing. But while he isn’t likely to bring offensive fireworks, could his versatility and reliability make him an attractive option for the New York Giants?
Prospect: Tre Benson (3)
Games Watched: vs. LSU (2023), vs. Boston College (2023), vs. Clemson (2023), vs. Duke (2023)
Weight: 225 pounds
- Contact balance
Benson is a good-sized, athletic, and well-rounded running back prospect.
Benson has a thick, powerful frame for the position at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, but moves well for a bigger back. He has solid quickness and agility to change gaps behind the line of scrimmage or make subtle moves to evade tacklers in the open field. He has enough speed to gain the edge on off-tackle runs, and enough burst to turn upfield and pick up yardage as a receiver.
He has solid vision behind the line of scrimmage and does a good job of varying his path and tempo to both set his blockers up and allow them to establish their blocks. He’s good at identifying holes for cutbacks, but is also disciplined enough to follow his blockers. Benson also has good contact balance to allow him to survive incidental contact when running through the trash around the line of scrimmage. He’s able to ignore arm tackles and bounce off shoulder checks without losing his footing.
Benson is acapable player in the passing game. He has upside as a receiver, and is a good route runner as well as a natural “hands” catcher. He does a good job of locating and adjusting to the ball in the air, extends to pluck the ball out of the air, and has soft hands. He is also a capable pass protector who is unafraid of meeting larger defenders.
Interestingly, Benson is a relatively low-mileage runner and he only has 310 carries over the last two years (156 carries in 2022 and 154 in 2023). That means he has relatively low wear and tear compared to runners who had a heavier workload in college. He was a part of an active running back rotation at Florida State and has experience as a runner, receiver, and blocker out of two-back “pony package” sets.
- Absolute athleticism
- Ankle flexibility
Benson is probably best classified as a “good but not great” athlete.
He has good speed, but won’t run away from athletic defenders. He’s quick and agile, but won’t make defenders miss in a phone booth. He has a decent burst, but isn’t truly explosive and needs a short runway to reach top speed.
Notably, he can have some inefficiency – or outright stumble – when he needs to cut quickly. That seems to come down to some slight stiffness in his ankles. Again, he isn’t truly stiff, but he lacks the supple flexibility that the most agile ball carriers have. Instead, he can’t quite seem to drop his hips as far as he needs when cutting sharply or is forced to cut on portions of his foot (toes, outside, etc.) and can’t maintain full traction.
Benson’s vision is also slightly less than elite. He can identify holes and anticipate defenders at the first level, which is often enough to turn mediocre runs into good ones. However he can fail to pick up second or third level defenders. Likewise, he can occasionally fail to pick up defenders in pass protection, or aggressively come up to meet them.
(Benson is FSU RB number 3)
Benson projects as a primary back for an offense that uses a downhill rushing attack and makes heavy use of running backs in the passing game.
Benson would be best in a rushing attack that allows him to be a one-cut runner. He certainly has some cutting ability, but outside zone schemes that ask their runners to select from a “menu” of holes and go where the defense is stressed won’t play to his strengths. Benson is much better when playing downhill and picking up what is blocked for him.
He is able to run the full gamut of routes out of the backfield. He has the speed to get vertical on wheel routes as well as enough agility to catch a pass in the flat or on an angle route and turn upfield.
Benson is a very well-rounded runner who’s good at just about everything an NFL back needs to do in order to be a consistent presence on the field. Teams might want to pair him with a “specialist” who can be great in an area of relative weakness for Benson, such as a speedster who can pick up chunk yardage or a power back who can pick up tough yardage. However, teams should feel confident putting Benson on the field in most circumstances and he should be able to keep an offense on schedule.
Does he fit the Giants?
Yes. While he isn’t exceptional in any one area, he’s good at most of what the Giants ask their runners to do.
Final Word: A solid Day 2 value