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Steelers Name Keeanu Benton Starting NT



Steelers News DL Keeanu Benton
Steelers DL Keeanu Benton against the Baltimore Ravens, Oct. 8, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers have named rookie defensive tackle Keeanu Benton as their starting nose tackle moving forward over veteran Montravius Adams. In a new depth chart released by the Steelers before their Week 15 clash in Indianapolis, the team has Benton listed over Adams at nose tackle, making this the first official week that the standout rookie will be a starter.

Throughout his rookie season, Benton has continued to improve in all facets of his game. Despite not playing nearly as much as most would like him to, Benton still has racked up impressive tape and is putting himself in the conversation as part of the team’s future along the defensive line.

The Steelers see it, too. Two weeks ago, Cam Heyward admitted he never gave him enough credit for doing what he had done as a rookie. It’s not hard to see. Most guys do not play as a rookie as much as Benton has and have this much success. But Benton is only getting better. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin gave Keeanu Benton plenty of props for his growth, too.

“A lot of potential, a lot of growth, and I love what I see from the young guy. He just continues to get better. I can’t say enough about him. I’m glad we got him, and I think he’s going to be a real force in that middle four for a while,” Austin said.

Getting praise like that is not new for Benton and should not stop coming. He will likely see that productivity increase next year, but could even see it round out to end this season. So far, he is their healthiest and most consistent defensive tackle. For a second-round pick, that is a massive hit.

Pittsburgh now has three starting rookies with five earning significant snaps throughout the season. Given that they made all of those rookies earn their roles, it speaks to the upgrades they have brought to the lineup.