Steelers' Keeanu Benton Primed For Breakout Season

Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Keeanu Benton is a strong candidate for an sophomore breakout season.
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Keeanu Benton
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Keeanu Benton / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- Many people have talked about the strength of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 draft class. However, following the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers were also praised for their selections then.

One of their picks in the 2023 draft was their second round selection, where with the 49th pick they selected nose tackle Keeanu Benton out of Wisconsin.

In Benton's rookie season, he started in 9 games while playing in 17 total. He amassed 36 tackles and a sack in a mostly backup role.

However, Bradley Locker of Pro Football Focus believes that this year will be a great opportunity for Benton.

"Pittsburgh has several sophomores who should burst onto the scene, and maybe none is as tantalizing as Benton. The former Badger ranked fourth on the Steelers with 24 pressures despite playing only 516 snaps. There were several moments when Benton looked flat-out unblockable, but the Steelers didn’t use him as much as anticipated as a rookie. With Cameron Heyward experiencing a down 2023 and uncertainty with Larry Ogunjobi’s production, it feels as though Benton should easily exceed his previous snap count and be disruptive on the interior." wrote Locker.

The Steelers retained Montravius Adams with a two-year contract in free agency this offseason but Benton figures to be apart of the Steelers defense for years to come. Benton has a unique shot to prove himself in a crucial year for the Steelers defensive core. Now that he looks to get used significantly more, the Steelers might have a surprise for opposing offensive lines come Week 1.

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Ari Meyer


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