Keeanu Benton On Main Takeaway From Conversations With Mike Tomlin: ‘He Wants Goons Out There’

Mike Tomlin loves his goons. In 2021, he praised the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive line, particularly Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, calling them “goons” who “have been around for a long time, guys that quite frankly require four hands on them to move them, to get them moved and to create running lanes and so forth.” While the word may have a negative connotation, in Tomlin’s book, it’s a compliment. According to Steelers second-round draft pick Keeanu Benton, Tomlin told him that he wants to bring some goons to Pittsburgh and Benton believes he’s the man for the job.

“Just talking to Coach Tomlin, the main thing I had taken away from that was that he wants goons out there and he wants somebody to come out there who’s not afraid to get their nose dirty and I feel like I am that best option for that guy,” Benton said via the official transcript provided by the team.

With Larry Ogunjobi, Benton, Breidon Fehoko and Armon Watts all capable of playing nose tackle, the Steelers have a lot of dudes up front. Obviously, Fehoko and Watts are going to play more of a rotational role while Benton and Ogunjobi are likely to see the majority of the snaps. But defensive tackle went from a unit that looked pretty weak to one that should be capable of competing in the AFC North.

Pittsburgh’s defense should be a strength next year. With Cameron Heyward, Ogunjobi, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith with Benton now in the fold along with Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb, the team should have a talented front seven. Obviously, the secondary features Minkah Fitzpatrick, Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace and Joey Porter Jr., whom the team also drafted Friday. The Steelers led the league in interceptions last year, so hopefully, it’s a solid unit again.

It’s a good day when the Pittsburgh Steelers get better, and they got better today. Adding a “goon” in Benton and Porter Jr. and tight end Darnell Washington gives the Steelers three rookies who probably could’ve gotten drafted a lot higher than they did. On paper, Omar Khan’s first draft has been a smashing success. We’ll see what happens when these guys take the field as Steelers for the first time, but it’s hard not to be excited about the possibilities. It’s a good day in Pittsburgh and a good day to be a Steelers fan.

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