Scouting the helmet is a lazy way to analyze NFL Draft prospects. However, sometimes the comparison is so fitting that it is impossible to ignore. One case of that this coming season? Dalvin Cook and Trey Benson — two Florida State ball carriers.
Dalvin Cook Lays Groundwork For Future Florida State Running Backs
Cook’s electric running style has been catching the attention of fans since his days in Tallahassee. The Seminole standout earned a unanimous All-American selection in 2016 by racking up more than 2,000 all-purpose yards. He dazzled the nation with his game-breaking speed and ankle-breaking moves.
Cook — now entering his seventh year in the NFL — has been one of the best running backs in the league since being taken in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He served as the top running back throughout his rookie deal, eventually netting a lucrative long-term deal from the Vikings.
Even with constant injuries, Cook still produced four straight 1,000-yard campaigns and carried many fantasy football squads to the Promised Land. In real life, the Minnesota offense lived and died by his contributions. There’s a real argument that Cook was the best offensive weapon in the league for a short period of time.
Last week, Cook was released from his contract with the Vikings after both parties failed to reach a restructuring agreement. This six-year run is the typical shelf life of a running back’s prime, so anything more from the veteran is icing on top.
Trey Benson Aims For Day 1 Status At 2024 NFL Draft
Another former Florida State standout, Trey Benson, will look to replicate this success. He is taller than Cook, but virtually everything else in their physical profile looks identical. Benson displays remarkable contact balance and strength as a runner. He barrels through arm tackles and bounces off big hits from defenders.
Not to be outdone, Benson’s agility is top-notch. He plants his foot and re-accelerates as well as any running back in the 2024 NFL Draft. This is evident by his whopping 51% missed tackle rate. That’s right, on more than HALF of the times a defender attempted to tackle Benson, they failed!
The 215-pound ball carrier exhibits adequate top-end speed and untapped potential as a pass catcher. He has yet to handle a full workload at the collegiate level, but it could be seen as a positive, just as easily as a negative. Benson has fresh legs and minimal wear and tear.
Benson has the frame to be an effective blocker but will need some NFL coaching to clean up his sloppy technique. Furthermore, the mystifying talent at running back could show better patience as he waits for running lanes to form. At times, Benson forces the issue and disrupts the timing of his blockers.
The Florida State offense is bound to put up some gaudy numbers all around. Quarterback Jordan Travis is a legitimate Heisman contender, while Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman form one of the most fearsome wide receiver duos in the country. Add in South Carolina transfer Jaheim Bell and it makes for an embarrassment of riches for the Seminoles.
Trey Benson will be the primary running back in the offense, which should produce counting numbers that rival the All-American season from Cook in 2016. If Benson cleans up his third-down reps, a franchise bell-cow role is in his future. Who knows; perhaps the ascending star can go earlier in the NFL Draft than Cook did? With a stellar 2023 campaign, a top-40 selection is well within range.