NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota

The Pittsburgh Steelers addressed their need at interior defensive line with their third pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. With the 49th selection, Pittsburgh selected former Wisconsin defensive lineman Keeanu Benton. 

Benton is an ideal fit on the Steelers' defensive line alongside veterans Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi. Benton was a solid run-stuffer as well as a formidable pass rusher at Wisconsin. He had 4.5 sacks, 36 tackles and 10 tackles for loss during his final season in Madison. 

The Steelers draft began with the selection of former Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones with the 14th overall pick. Pittsburgh traded its 120th pick to New England in order to move up three spots to select Jones. 

Pittsburgh kicked off Day 2 of the draft by selecting former Penn State Joey Porter Jr. The son of former Steelers standout linebacker Joey Porter, the younger Porter joins a Steelers secondary that also features two-time All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick and eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson

The Steelers have three more picks remaining in the draft but none in rounds 4-7. Pittsburgh is currently trying to remedy that situation in order to get at least one pick during those rounds.

Draft Scouting Report

Rating: 80.33 (Long-term starter)
Pro Comparison: Dalvin Tomlinson

  • 2022: 6.0 tackles for loss in final three games (two tackles for loss in each)
  • 2022: Third-team All-Big Ten (coaches)

Summary: Keeanu Benton is an average athlete who uses strength and hands to apply pressure in the backfield. He seamlessly stepped out of a role as a block eater into a role as a player capable of creating a bit more pass rush. He does a good job playing down the line with long arms. He displays good grip strength and an ability to take on double teams.


  • Great size as an interior defender
  • Long arms to occupy double teams
  • Does a good job of playing the run down the line
  • Showed elevated pass rush in 2022
  • Strong lower body and good grip strength


  • Not overly explosive or athletic
  • Limited pass-rush potential
  • Average change of direction relative to his size

Combine Results:

  • 40-Yard Dash: 5.08 seconds
  • Vertical: 29.5 inches
  • Broad Jump: 9 feet, 3 inches
  • 3-Cone Drill: 7.34 seconds
  • Shuttle Run: 4.65 seconds
  • Bench Press: 25 reps