Vince Williams A Fan Of The Steelers’ Keeanu Benton Selection: ‘I Love All Defensive Linemen’

An old-school man like Vince Williams loves old-school players like Keeanu Benton. Give him all the big guys up front. When he played, it made Williams’ job easier, and it’ll do the same for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ current group. Williams was a special guest on Cam Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast last weekend, a live draft edition, and gave his thoughts on second-round pick NT Keeanu Benton. 

“I love all d-linemen,” Williams told the show. “That’s what they need. Everybody talks about linebacker play but in order to have really good linebacker play, you gotta have great d-linemen in front of you.”

Benton was a player we targeted back in January as a strong Steelers’ fit. He has the height, weight, and especially the length – something that’s getting harder and harder to find up front – to mesh in Pittsburgh’s system. At Wisconsin, he played in a similar defensive system, an odd front that asked Benton to do much of what he’ll do with the Steelers. It made the projection easier while giving the team a man in the middle they can rely on.

Pittsburgh has been searching for a quality nose tackle the last two seasons. Tyson Alualu had success after replacing Javon Hargrave but repeated knee and ankle injuries greatly hampered him at the end of his career. Last year, Montravius Adams leapt him as starter but his play was uninspiring for most of the year. In free agency, the team signed pluggers Armon Watts and Breiden Fehoko but added Benton in the hopes of him becoming the fixture at nose tackle.

For Williams, the value of a good supporting cast made him want to stay in Pittsburgh instead of testing free agency waters.

“I remember when I was approaching free agency the first time, I was like, I’m not leaving. I’ve got Tuitt, Tyson, Cam Heyward, T.J., Bud, I’m playing behind these guys,” he said. “They make my job easy. I get to sit back and talk trash while my big guys in front of me go maul people, and I just collect all the sacks and TFLs.”

Pittsburgh rebuilt its 2022 run defense after finishing dead last in the league the previous season. But the run defense didn’t always feel up to par last season and there was a weakness up front. Benton will try to plug the hole and in turn help new ILBs Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts as they enter their first year with the team. And hopefully stop the constant turnover at the position.

Check out the entire interview below.

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