Former Wisconsin Badgers defensive tackle Keeanu Benton was drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 49th overall selection.
Welcome to Pittsburgh DT Keeanu Benton ⚫️ #steelers— matthew luciow (@Luciow1992) April 29, 2023
When I saw the Steelers drafted Benton, I was ecstatic for the defensive tackle.
Not only is this a great place for him to show what he is capable of as a player, but the Steelers run a similar 3-4 defense that Benton played in while with the Badgers.
I expect Benton to slot in as the starting nose tackle and dominate in the run game next to Cam Heyward, who will be playing the defensive end role, or as some may call it, the defensive tackle position due to the 3-4 alignment.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin told Benton that he had been eyeing him since the Senior Bowl.
During the Senior Bowl, Benton dominated at the nose tackle position, while also showing position versatility at the defensive tackle spot.
My favorite thing about this fit is Benton fits what the Steelers have always been about: physicality and stopping the run game.
With the Steelers mentality, Benton fits in perfectly as a mean machine that is going to wreck game plans in the run game and provide more upside as a pass rusher than he showed in college.
As a pass rusher, he was limited at Wisconsin due to what he was asked to do.
I do believe Benton will be given the opportunity to play the three-technique and show what he can do as a pass rusher.
The Steelers should put him next to T.J. Watt and let them both get after the quarterback with Cam Heyward.
Love this pick by the Steelers, Keeanu Benton is one of my fav players in this NFL Draft class. Can play 1T, 3T, and 5T. Heavy hands and always makes plays against the run. Has pass rush upside too. Tons of plays like this: pic.twitter.com/jtpr4SeZWx— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) April 29, 2023
I sort of see Benton being a player similar to the Steelers' former player Javon Hargrave.
Now, Benton has a bit more agility than Hargrave coming out and is a better run defender than Hargrave, but they both have the athleticism to be great.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers found themselves a player that can not only stop the run as a nose tackle, but I believe he can give out and rush the passer from the three-technique and from the nose tackle spot.
I originally thought Benton was similar to Chris Jones coming out of Mississippi State.
That should have Steelers fans ecstatic about that draft pick, as I truly believe Steelers have a future pro bowler.
I gave this an A+ pick by the Steelers, one of my favorite players in this draft class.