Mario Benavides: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Louisville Center
An assortment of injuries have been the only thing capable of keeping Louisville center Mario Benavides off the field during his collegiate career.
Following in the footsteps of former Louisville center Eric Wood, a 2009 first-round pick, Benavides has started inside for the Cardinals in each of the last four seasons.
However, injuries to his knee and shoulder have slowed his journey to the NFL, and he's now a likely third-day pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Here's the five things you need to know about the former Louisville center.
Birthday: November 23, 1989
Hometown: Los Fresnos, Texas
High School: Los Fresnos High School
Benavides earned a degree in marketing in 2012. The Los Fresnos product made a big move to Louisville, but he was a relatively well-regarded 3-star recruit for the Cardinals.
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Benavides has been very durable for the most part, but he did miss three games in 2011. That's a non-issue, as he has since been tough and constantly in the lineup.
Weight: 290 lbs
Benavides did not work out at the combine, nor did his pro day produce any numbers. He has gained significant weight this offseason, though, to bulk up for the NFL.
Benavides racked up 200 pancake blocks in high school, and has since become a starter from the moment he took the field in Louisville.
He is currently a graduate student.
Benavides' smaller size betrays excellent strength and surprising athleticism. He excelled in big games against North Carolina and Florida while being a catalyst for Louisville's solid offense.
NFL.com describes him as such:
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.