Arrelious Benn’s career had been going down a promising path.
He was a five-star recruit out of high school, showed off his versatile skill set at Illinois and got selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Bucs.
But since arriving to the NFL, he hasn’t lived up to expectations, totaling just 59 catches and 862 receiving yards in three seasons. Now, the 24-year-old is excited about getting a new start.
“If I’m being honest with you, I don’t like my career,” Benn said today. “I’ve got to stay healthy. I haven’t stayed healthy. I’ve had a problem with injuries. When I was healthy and out there, I made plays. I was consistent. But the big thing for me is to stay healthy. It’s no secret for me, I know that. I’m going to be honest with myself. Just come in here and do what I’ve got to do.”
Benn (6-2, 220) suffered an MCL sprain last year and only appeared in eight games before landing on IR. In 2011, he tore his ACL and missed the final two games. Benn pointed out that injuries were never an issue for him in college and said he’s 100 percent healthy right now.
Asked for a self-scouting report, Benn said, “Physical, a guy that gets the ball in my hands and can run after the catch.”
As we pointed out in the All-22 breakdown last week, the numbers back that up. Per Pro Football Focus, he averaged 6.6 yards after the catch in 2011, 11th in the NFL. And as a rookie, that number was 6.3, which was tied for sixth.
Benn hasn’t been given much information about his potential role yet. He was effective on special-teams coverage in Tampa, and even though he didn’t do much as a return man there, he could get an opportunity here to do that.
Although he doesn’t have the hands of Jason Avant, Benn, who is a good blocker, thinks he can be effective in the slot.
“I think I have the skill set to play both [inside and outside],” he said. “I think I’m a mismatch in the slot with my speed and size. We’re going to see where I fit in, and I’m going to go with it.”
Asked if he was expecting to be moved, Benn said, “I was expecting it. I’m not going to lie, I was expecting it. I wanted to move forward. I didn’t want to be there.
“I just needed a change of scenery. I just needed a fresh start. The situation just wasn’t going right. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Benn signed a one-year extension today that keeps him under contract with the Eagles through 2014.