With the 49th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Wisconsin DL Keeanu Benton.
Benton is a classic height/weight/length player who fits well into the Steelers’ scheme. At just under 6’4 and just over 300 pounds with 33+-inch arms, he flashes quick hands and the ability to rush the passer while stacking and shedding against the run. In his career, he recorded 19 TFL and nine sacks.
Benton had been on the Steelers’ radar since the Senior Bowl and had a strong week in Mobile. He’ll be a quality rotational piece along Pittsburgh’s defensive line. Capable of playing nose to 4i, he can rotate behind Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi while also potentially seeing time at nose tackle. Pittsburgh added depth pieces in Breiden Fehoko and Armon Watts but lacked a solid long-term option. Until now.
Here is what we wrote in the Good/Bad section of our scouting report.
— Great size and length, big and powerful lower half and looks the part
— Strong and controls base/solo blocks in run game, forces backs to adjust their path
— Flows down the line well and difficult to consistently reach and cut-off
— Plays with good leverage and hand placement, taller in the middle get doesn’t get uprighted
— Tackles and finishes well, finds the ball well with proper technique
— NFL system, played head up, used in even fronts and run/pass stunts, defense used pro concepts
— Surprising amount of bend and ability to corner as a pass rusher
— Flashes effective swim move as a pass rusher
— Gets hands up in throwing lanes
— Shows decent effort to chase the ball
— Tough player who fights through injuries
— Improved and had statistically best season as a senior
— Average snap off the ball, isn’t poor but not explosive, especially as a pass rusher
— Not a tremendous athlete who lacks foot speed in space
— Lacks go-to pass rush move he’s able to find consistently, gets locked up and doesn’t offer much if initial rush dies
— Surprisingly lacks effective bull rush to collapse the pocket, tries to be too finesse
— Needs to consistently stay on his feet, can get knocked off balance and drop eyes, causing him to lose battles and play with poor technique
— Will try to turn and wash out double-teams but still needs to consistently stay square and anchor
— May not have consistent pass rush presence to be all-situations player
— Didn’t have overwhelming production
And you can check out our full report below.
The Steelers next pick comes at #80. Right now, it’s their final selection until late in the seventh round at #241.