Most overrated player from Steelers 2023 draft class

Steelers, Keeanu Benton
Steelers, Keeanu Benton / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

I've already gone on record saying that this is my favorite Pittsburgh Steelers draft class since I started following the NFL Draft intently back in 2013. This past April, Omar Khan was able to find quality players at great value while still targeting important positions.

Because of this, I'm very optimistic that this Steelers draft class could help lay out the groundwork for what could be the next generation of talent in Pittsburgh. From this promising class, I wouldn't be surprised to see three or four players make a huge impact on this team a few years down the line.

On paper, things couldn't have worked out much better when the stars seemed to align for Khan and Mike Tomlin during the three-day stretch of the NFL Draft. In fact, the haul that Pittsburgh ultimately reeled in topped even my dream scenario outcome that I posted on Twitter just before the draft.

As much as I loved the overall selections and value the Steelers got this year, there is one player who I'm not as high on as the Pittsburgh fan base, and I will even dare to call him a bit overrated. That player is a second-round pick, Keeanu Benton.

Why Keeanu Benton is the most overrated Steelers draft pick

During the pre-draft process, I got a chance to watch a lot of Keeanu Benton film. The former Wisconsin defensive tackle has a quality skill set thanks to his blend of size, length, and traits, but I just didn't see a very physically imposing player anytime I put on the tape.

Thanks to a strong Senior Bowl week, Benton flew up the draft radar and quickly became a fan favorite for many. However, when I saw that he was drawing buzz as a potential selection at pick 32 overall, that made me a little bit nervous, and I knew there were going to be over a dozen players I liked better at that spot.

Benton is also made out to be a great run defender when in reality, this is an area where he's currently mediocre at best. While he's typically stout enough to hold up at the point of attack, Benton isn't an imposing run defender and his run-stop win rate was in just the 10th percentile among interior defenders in 2022, via Pro Football Focus.

For where the Steelers took Benton, I certainly can't complain. I had Benton as the 53rd overall player on my board and Pittsburgh took him at pick 49. Essentially, this was right on value. However, I do believe that Benton was drawing too much pre-draft buzz due to his connection to Pittsburgh throughout the process.

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Obviously, I hope that Keeanu Benton has a magnificent Steelers career and becomes a force along their interior defensive line. But when I watch him on tape, I see a player who doesn't really have a niche and still has a long way to go in terms of development. Let's hope he proves me wrong.