Grading the Steelers 2023 class: Strong results across the board

Fans should be pleased with the one-year sample from Pittsburgh's 2023 rookie class.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers grade for Keeanu Benton

Grade: B+

The Keeanu Benton selection in the draft was one of those moves that just made sense. The Steelers had an inherent need along the defensive line at nose tackle (and at end long-term). Benton was a force in the run game in school and could serve as a base nose tackle but has the potential to play more of an end spot eventually.

He was as advertised. Benton did everything that was asked of them and then some. While it took him some time to see the field consistently (which was frustrating, but it was more due to the solid play of veteran Montravius Adams), he eventually became a core member of this defense.

The run defense was stellar all season. All you had to do was flip on the tape and see just how disruptive he was. As a nose tackle, the stats weren’t always there, but his power was obvious on tape as he would consistently collapse pockets and command double teams. That kind of production goes unnoticed on the stat sheet, but it makes the defense better as a whole.

While Benton will need to develop as a pass rusher in order to become a viable starter long-term, his rookie season was a big success. While one can argue that there was better overall production elsewhere, no rookie had as early and consistent of an impact as Benton. Expect him to be a force for this defense moving forward.