Steelers make a franchise-altering trade in final 2023 NFL mock draft

Paris Johnson Jr., Steelers
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55. Keeanu Benton. 2. . . Defensive tackle. Wisconsin . player

Steelers mock draft round 2: DT Keeanu Benton

This seems like the assumed spot where Keeanu Benton will go around draft time. He has risen draft boards from an early day three pick at different points in the pre-draft process to a second-round darling. The Steelers have not hidden their infatuation well with this player. They desperately need a defensive tackle, and they accomplish addressing that need here.

Larry Ogunjobi and Cam Heyward are there to start on the defensive line but there are other spots that still need to be filled. A quality nose tackle that can stuff the run, and someone that can fill a defensive end spot in case of injury is still on the to-do list. Benton would provide an answer to both of those needs as he has shown the ability to excel in both roles in college.

Others that were considered: D.J. Turner (CB), Trenton Simpson (LB), Dawand Jones (OT)

Cornerback is another need that could be addressed early in the draft so someone like D.J. Turner out of Michigan could make sense around this point. It will truly depend on how the draft board falls between the difference of a cornerback or defensive lineman being taken in front of each other. Trenton Simpson is a linebacker that has gotten a lot of attention from Pittsburgh during the pre-draft process as well.

Simpson had dinner with Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin, which is a common trend for top picks. Dawand Jones has seen his draft stock cool off since the Senior Bowl and could drop a round or two because of it. He would be a nice right tackle option on day two of the draft.