Keeanu Benton Complete NFL Draft Profile (Don't Buy the Soaring Draft Stock Hype)
Wisconsin defensive tackle Keeanu Benton is headed to the 2023 NFL Draft after finally breaking out fully in his fourth year as a starter in 2022. As a defensive tackle who plays the nose a lot, he has a limited fit in today's NFL, but his strong play still has him on plenty of teams' radars, with some experts even projecting him as a first-round pick.
Here's everything you need to know about Keeanu Benton heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.
Keeanu Benton Draft Stock & Mock Draft Projections
Mock draft sources accurate as of 4/27 NFL.com, ESPN, CBS, Walter Football, Sporting News.
Projected Draft Round: Round 3 (4), Round 4 (1)
Projected Team: 49ers (2), Giants (1), Texans (1), Packers (1)
Keeanu Benton Scouting Report
Keeanu Benton is a powerful interior defensive lineman with size and persistence. He has played as a full-time starter for most of his four seasons at the collegiate level. However, Benton needs to play with consistency at the pro level.
Strengths of Benton's game include his full-time starter experience, a stout frame with plenty of size, the brute force and aggression needed to toss would-be blockers out of the way, and a terrific initial punch. He is very challenging to knock off his feet and battles through initial adversity to fight back into the play. Benton's clubbing, heavy hands help knock pass sets off-balance.
However, there are some weaknesses to consider. Benton has below-average quickness off the ball into the neutral zone, doesn't always play with a great base, and is slow to read and react to blockers. When he loses that base he can be knocked off balance, which also limits his tackling range. As a rusher he lacks the agility and quickness needed to finish sacks at the pro level.
Keeanu Benton NFL Draft Prediction
Benton's raw physical tools are impressive, but they also may be part of his downfall. Relying on those tools, he shows a major lack of technique and athleticism needed to thrive at the next level. That shouldn't make him a first-round pick like we're seeing some sources project.
Still, his attitude on the field is something coaches can fall in love with, and it's not unusual for a coaching staff to think they have the key to unlocking a player's potential if they like their attitude enough.
So who's a head coach with an old-school attitude who could fall in love with Benton's aggression and who also needs to shore up a bottom-three run defense? Looking at you, Dan Campbell.
Prediction: Detroit Lions (Round 2, 55 overall)
Check out more NFL Draft Coverage from The Duel:
Keeanu Benton NFL Combine Results
Keeanu Benton Wisconsin Stats