Initial grades for the Steelers impressive 2023 draft haul

Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones
Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers second-round pick: DL Keeanu Benton

Grade: A-

The third pick of the class and still high marks overall, Keeanu Benton was squarely on the Steelers radar early in the draft process. Despite not having elite pass-rushing traits, Benton was one of the better run defenders in college football last season. Add in his versatility along the line and he should be a big addition to this roster.

I expect Benton to come in right away and play as a nose tackle, as that was his most prominent role in school. He is a little tall for the role, but he has the base strength you want in a nose tackle. He can take up space and require double teams in order to slow him down from getting into the backfield.

Given his size and length though, Benton can, and likely will, move around the line. His run defense is easily his best trait, but if he can develop an array of pass-rushing moves, he should be able to play more of an end role. He could even be in line to be a replacement for Cameron Heyward once he hangs it up.

Of all the names in this class, I expect Benton to have the earliest and most prominent role. He should become the base nose tackle early as he works his way into other roles. I love this pick due to the versatility he brings. The value also was good, and he earns high marks overall.