Photo of Mario Benavides
Grade
62.0 ?

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'3" Height
  • 290LBS. Weight

Overview

The fact Benavides has played very well during his first three years on the field for the Cardinals despite constantly fighting injuries leads scouts to wonder what he could accomplish if full healthy. He sat out versus Arkansas State in 2010 (partial tear in MCL), but played most of the season with a torn labrum (shoulder). He missed the first three games to start the 2011 season due to an infection in his ankle that seemed to come out of nowhere, and had surgery on his shoulder after the season, causing him to miss 2012 spring practices. Benavides, however, bounced back from the spring injury to be named first-team all-Big East as the Cardinals went on to win the Sugar Bowl.


Benavides was an All-Texas pick in high school and a top 40 national prospect at guard and tackle, and graduated a semester early to arrive at Louisville in time for 2008 spring practices. He redshirted his first season on campus, as well, as Buffalo's 2008 first round pick Eric Wood led the line. Benavides won the center job before the 2009 season and hasn't let it go despite those aforementioned maladies.

Analysis

Strengths

Nose tackles rarely bull him back or integrate themselves into plays once in his grasp because of his strength and solid footwork. Reliable on shotgun snaps and manages to get his body into the defender until his hands can get involved after unloading the ball. Picks up twists and interior blitzers, also flashes the lateral agility to mirror tackles trying to elude him in pass protection. Uses his man's momentum to his advantage, utilizing the angle to keep him from the running lane. Unlike most solidly-built centers, he is used to pull around the edge on occasion and is also a good combo blocker, getting a good push on the tackle before neutralizing the Mike.

Weaknesses

Nose tackles rarely bull him back or integrate themselves into plays once in his grasp because of his strength and solid footwork. Reliable on shotgun snaps and manages to get his body into the defender until his hands can get involved after unloading the ball. Picks up twists and interior blitzers, also flashes the lateral agility to mirror tackles trying to elude him in pass protection. Uses his man's momentum to his advantage, utilizing the angle to keep him from the running lane. Unlike most solidly-built centers, he is used to pull around the edge on occasion and is also a good combo blocker, getting a good push on the tackle before neutralizing the Mike.

NFL Comparison

John Sullivan

Bottom Line

Benavides has fought through various injuries (shoulder, staph infection, MCL tear) during his career, but still managed to hold down the starting center job since Eric Wood was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by Buffalo. He won’t be selected as high as his predecessor, possibly lasting until midway through the third day of the draft, but he has the necessary toughness and football IQ to lead an NFL offensive line, as well as enough agility to block on the move.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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