Pittsburgh Steelers take DT Keeanu Benton at pick 49 in the 2023 NFL Draft

Steelers, Keeanu Benton
Steelers, Keeanu Benton / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers are making a point to load up on the trenches. After selecting Georgia OT Broderick Jones, Omar Khan went with Joey Porter Jr. With the 49th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton.

If you followed along closely during the pre-draft process, this shouldn't have come as a surprise. Benton was a player who has been linked to Pittsburgh since very early in the offseason. In a thin defensive tackle class, the Steelers get the best of the rest in Benton.

The Wisconsin star was a beast in the interior of the Badgers' defense. During his senior season, Benton recorded 10 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 12 games. Benton was one of the stars on defense at Mobile during the Senior Bowl.

What Keeanu Benton brings to the Steelers

At 6'3 5/8'' and 309 pounds with nearly 34'' arms, Benton has a quality blend of size, length, and athletic traits. He tested as an 89th percentile athlete, according to his Relative Athletic Score.

Benton will begin his career in a rotation with Cameron Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi -- likely competing for snaps from the gate with last year's third-round pick, DeMarvin Leal (who landed on IR as a rookie).

Benton has the ability to defend the run as well as get some pressure on the quarterback in passing situations. As a run defender, he still has work to do, but the flashes are there.

Next. Steelers select Joey Porter Jr. with 32nd pick in 2023 NFL Draft. dark

There were plenty of quality players on the board when the Pittsburgh Steelers made their 49th selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, Benton is a solid football player who fills a position of need. On paper, this is shaping up to be a very strong draft for Omar Khan in his first offseason as general manager.