How Steelers 2023 draft picks fit into depth chart
The Steelers made a bevy of signings to boost the depth along the defensive line. They signed Renell Wren and Jonathan Marshall near the end of the season and Breiden Fehoko and Armon Watts during the offseason. But I believe Keeanu Benton will crack the defensive line rotation early in his career.
In his first three seasons at Wisconsin, Benton spent most of his snaps between the A-gaps. But in his final season, he kicked outside to the B-gap on most of his snaps. Regardless, he rarely lined up across from or outside the offensive tackle. Therefore, I expect him to begin his career by splitting time with Montravius Adams as the starting nose tackle in the Steelers' base 3-4 defense.
Even though the Steelers use their Base defense on less than half their snaps, closer to 40% if anything, Benton will replace Montravius Adams as the starting nose tackle by midseason. He’s a reliable run defender with some very intriguing pass-rush upside. Given that the Steelers have two very good interior defensive linemen in Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi to play in their Nickel sets, Benton can be brought along slowly on more pass-heavy downs. In the Base defense, Adams is fine but is better as a rotational backup than a consistent starter.