American Football Database
Bené Benwikere
File:Bené Benwikere 2017.jpg
Benwikere with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017
Free agent
Personal information
Born: (1991-09-03) September 3, 1991 (age 30)
Los Angeles, California
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Junípero Serra
(Gardena, California)
College:San Jose State
NFL Draft:2014 / Round: 5 / Pick: 148
Career history
* Carolina Panthers ( 2014 2016)
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
* First-team All-MWC (2013)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 12, 2018
Total tackles:155
Forced fumbles:3
Pass deflections:25
Player stats at

Bené Sylvion Benwikere (/bəˈn bɛnˈwɪkər/; bə-NAY--_-ben-WIK; born September 3, 1991)[1] is an American football cornerback who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at San Jose State.

Early life

Benwikere grew up in Los Angeles; his father immigrated to the United States from Nigeria.[2] As a freshman, Benwikere attended View Park High School and played eight-man football before transferring to Junípero Serra High School in Gardena, California.[3] In his first year at Serra, he earned a starting cornerback spot. The Serra Cavaliers included future NFL players such as Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, Paul Richardson, and George Farmer.[2] As a senior, Benwikere helped Serra win the 2009 California Interscholastic Federation Division 3 title. Benwikere was adopted by Julio Jones on October 2, 2016.

A three-sport letterwinner, Benwikere also played basketball and was a sprinter (11.0s in the 100m) and jumper on the track team.[4][5]

Benwikere attended football camp at UCLA during high school and had scholarship offers from San Jose State, Iowa State, New Mexico, San Diego State, and UNLV.[6]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Bené Benwikere
[[Los Angeles, CA]] Junípero Serra HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 4.5 Feb 2, 2010 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   ESPN:3/5 stars
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 101 (CB), 76 (school)   Rivals: 75 (CB), 101 (school)  ESPN: 75 (CB), 141 (CA)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout and Rivals may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, an average of the two was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career

Benwikere committed to San Jose State on February 2, 2010. He was part of coach Mike MacIntyre's first recruiting class at San Jose State, and Benwikere played under MacIntyre from 2010 to 2012 and Ron Caragher in 2013.

As a true freshman in 2010, he played in all 13 games and made 9 starts. During his sophomore year, he played in ten games and made two starts. In 2012, Benwikere was named first-team All-WAC. He played in 13 games and started 8. Benwikere scored two defensive touchdowns off a 37-yard fumble recovery against New Mexico State and 47-yard interception return against Idaho.[3] On November 24 against Louisiana Tech, Benwikere tied a San Jose State record with three interceptions.[7] In San Jose State's victory over Bowling Green in the 2012 Military Bowl, Benwikere blocked a punt for a safety.[8]

In his senior season in 2013, Benwikere was named first-team All-MWC, started 11 games, and had a streak of four consecutive games with an interception. In his San Jose State career, Benwikere had 214 tackles (including 11.5 for loss), 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumbles recovered (1 returned for touchdown), 14 interceptions (1 returned for touchdown), and 22 passes broken up.[3] Benwikere graduated from San Jose State with a B.A. in sociology.[9]

Professional career

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
5 ft 11 in 195 lb 4.63 s 4.38 s 6.94 s 40 ½ in 10 ft 2 in 10 rep

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers selected Benwikere in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers traded a fifth (168th overall) and seventh round pick (225th overall) to the Minnesota Vikings and received a fifth round pick (148th overall) in order to draft Benwikere.[11] Carolina Panthers’ General Manager Dave Gettleman noted the Panthers’ had graded Benwikere as a fourth round pick.[2] Benwikere was the 19th cornerback drafted in 2014.

File:Marlon Brown and Bene Benwikere.jpg

Benwikere (#25) and Marlon Brown.

2014 season

On May 20, 2014, the Carolina Panthers signed Benwikere to a four-year, $2.41 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $199,000.[12]

As a rookie, during the preseason, Benwikere won the starting nickel corner position on the Panther defense over veteran Charles Godfrey.[13] On his NFL debut on September 7, 2014 in Carolina's 20-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Benwikere had 4 tackles, 1 pass deflection, and a recovery of a forced fumble by teammate Luke Kuechly on Tampa running back Bobby Rainey.[14][15] Benwikere's fumble recovery enabled Carolina to run out the clock en route to their victory.[14] In a week 2 victory over the Detroit Lions, Benwikere allowed only 20% of his targets to catch a pass, had a pressure, and recorded a pass deflection that was nearly picked off by teammate, Star Lotulelei.[16] Through the first two weeks of the season, Pro Football Focus rated Benwikere as the second best cornerback in the NFL, allowing a completion percentage of only 44.4% of passes thrown in his area.

In the first half of the October 5 game against the Chicago Bears, Benwikere left the game in the first half after twisting his ankle.[17] As of November 9, Benwikere has been inactive.[15] In the Panthers week 14 game against the New Orleans Saints, Benwikere recorded his first NFL interception against Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Despite giving up 8 catches on 10 targets against the Saints, he only gave up 48 yards and his rating when targeted was a 47.1.[18] Benwikere didn't allow a single touchdown in 254 snaps and 45 targets (best among rookie corners who played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps).[19] On December 23, 2014, Benwikere was named to the Sports Illustrated 2014 All-Rookie Team.[19] Over the final eight weeks of the regular season, Pro Football Focus rated Benwikere as the best cover corner in the NFL.[20] During the Panthers playoff victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Benwikere gave up only one reception for 21 yards for the game.[21] On January 13, 2015, Benwikere was named to the ProFootball Focus 2014 All-Rookie Team. He was also named to the All-Rookie teams for both ESPN and Sports Illustrated. For his rookie season, Benwikere allowed a rookie-low 72.9 opposing quarterback rating, no touchdowns, and was the third best in the NFL in the yards per reception allowed in 459 regular-season snaps.[22]

2015 season

With the Panthers acquisition of Charles Tillman during the offseason, Benwikere was named the Panthers starting nickelback to open the season.[23] Through the first three weeks of the season, the only two cornerbacks who were targeted 20 or more times and had not allowed a pass for more than 16 yards were Benwikere and teammate, Josh Norman. During the Panthers 44-16 victory over the Washington Redskins, Benwikere recorded his first career strip-sack against quarterback Kirk Cousins and only allowed 14 receiving yards in his zone. On December 13, during a game against the Atlanta Falcons, Benwikere suffered a fractured leg, and was placed on season-ending injury reserve.

On February 7, 2016, Benwikere's Panthers played in Super Bowl 50. In the game, the Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos by a score of 24–10.[24]

2016 season

On October 7, Benwikere was released by Carolina after the Panthers defense allowed 300 receiving yards[25] to Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Julio Jones for only the sixth such occurrence in NFL history. Benwikere admitted having some "conditioning issues", allowing the Falcons' Jones to get a step on him.[26]

Miami Dolphins

Benwikere was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins on October 10, 2016.[27] He was released by the Dolphins on November 8, and was re-signed to the practice squad.[28]

Green Bay Packers

Benwikere was signed to the Green Bay Packers practice squad on January 17, 2017.[29]

Cincinnati Bengals

On February 14, 2017, Benwikere was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals.[30]

Dallas Cowboys

On September 2, 2017 the Dallas Cowboys traded a conditional 2019 sixth-round draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for Benwikere.[31] The Cowboys acquired him to provide depth while rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis recovered from hamstring strains.[32] He appeared in 12 games playing mainly on special teams, registering 2 tackles in only 10 defensive snaps.

Arizona Cardinals

On March 23, 2018, Benwikere signed with the Arizona Cardinals, reuniting with head coach Steve Wilks who was his defensive backs coach with the Panthers.[33] He played in 11 games, starting eight, before being released by the Cardinals on November 26, 2018.[34]

Oakland Raiders

On December 5, 2018, Benwikere was signed by the Oakland Raiders.[35]

Minnesota Vikings

On August 3, 2019, Benwikere was signed by the Minnesota Vikings.[36] He was released on August 27, 2019.[37]

NFL career statistics

Regular season

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Total Solo Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR
2014 CAR 10 6 33 24 9 0.0 0 7 1 0 0.0 0 0 1 0
2015 CAR 13 4 59 44 15 1.0 0 9 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0
2016 CAR 4 4 10 8 2 0.0 0 4 1 1 1.0 1 0 0 0
2017 DAL 12 0 2 2 0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 1
Total 39 14 104 78 26 1.0 0 21 2 1 1.0 1 0 2 1


Year Team G GS Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Total Solo Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR
2014 CAR 2 2 2 2 0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 2 2 2 0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Personal life

His uncle, William Lackey, played in the Arena Football League. Benwikere's cousin Chris Owens also played cornerback in the NFL.[7]


  1. California Birth Index
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Person, Joseph (May 22, 2014). "Panthers rookie Benwikere’s future turned corner in high school". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on September 8, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Bené Benwikere". San Jose State Spartans. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  4. "Complete 2008 league results". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  5. "Combine Player Profiles: Bene Benwikere". NFL. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  6. "Bene Benwikere". Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Bene Benwikere Draft Profile". NFL. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  8. Durkin, Jimmy (December 28, 2012). "San Jose State Spartans win Military Bowl 29-20". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  9. Photo 5 of 85, San Jose State Athletics 2014 Graduation Participants
  10. "NFL Combine". Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  11. Beversluis, Brian (May 10, 2014). "NFL Draft 2014: Panthers select CB Bene Benwikere via trade". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  12. " Bené Benwikere contract". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  13. "Newton's protection on right still in doubt". ESPN. August 27, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Panthers 20, Buccaneers 14". Carolina Panthers. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Bene Benwikere Game Log". NFL. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  16. "What happened to change Carolina Panthers’ stance on Greg Hardy between Friday and Sunday?". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  17. Jones, Jonathan (October 6, 2014). "Carolina Panthers’ no-huddle offense just part of the mix". Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  18. "Panthers at Saints: Handing Out the Grades". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Derek Carr, Odell Beckham Jr., Aaron Donald headline All-Rookie Team". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  21. "Panthers 27 Cardinals 16: Handing Out the Grades". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  22. "NFL draft redux: Reprojecting the first round of the 2014 draft". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  23. "Bene' Benwikere shows why Panthers' D best with him at nickel". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  24. "Super Bowl 50 - Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers - February 7th, 2016". Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  25. Orr, Conor (October 7, 2016). "Struggling Bene' Benwikere cut by Carolina Panthers".
  26. McClure, Vaughn (October 2, 2016). "Julio Jones has 300-yard game one week after 1-catch outing".
  27. Sessler, Marc (October 10, 2016). "Dolphins grab corner Bene' Benwikere off waivers".
  28. Gantt, Darin (November 8, 2016). "Dolphins cut cornerback Bene Benwikere".
  29. "Packers sign CB Benwikere to practice squad". January 17, 2017.
  30. Marcum, Jason (February 14, 2017). "Bengals sign cornerback Bene' Benwikere".
  31. Sessler, Marc (September 2, 2017). "Cowboys acquire CB Bene' Benwikere from Bengals".
  32. "Cowboys add depth at CB, trade for Bene Benwikere". Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  33. Urban, Darren (March 23, 2018). "Bené Benwikere Signed As Cornerback Help".
  34. Urban, Darren (November 26, 2018). "Cardinals Cut Andre Smith, Bené Benwikere; Put Phil Dawson, Josh Bynes on IR".
  35. "Raiders announce transactions - 12.5.18". December 5, 2018.
  36. "Vikings Sign Bené Benwikere, Waive Terrence Alexander". August 3, 2019.
  37. "Vikings release CB Bené Benwikere and WR Jordan Taylor". Vikings Wire. USA Today. August 27, 2019.

External links