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Watch: Steelers Rookie Keeanu Benton Notches First Career Sack



Steelers NT Keeanu Benton
Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Keeanu Benton against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 18, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

LAS VEGAS — Keeanu Benton, the Steelers standout second round defensive tackle, notched his first NFL sack on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. He used his club-swim move to get it done, which has afforded Benton many wins throughout his short career, and at Wisconsin. With Cam Heyward out for a considerable amount of time, Benton has stepped up to make numerous plays in the two games since Heyward went on injured reserve.

The job of a nose tackle is sometimes a thankless one. Generally tasked with more of a role absorbing blockers than making plays, the man in the middle of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 3-4 defense has not always been covered in glitz and glamor — especially recently. But Benton looks to make it a high-upside position in the mold of Javon Hargrave, and so far, he has done just that.

“I feel like I’ve been able to hold my ground,” Benton said. “Not crazy different from college. I feel like I still have a feel for where to anchor my weight at and kind of how to transfer their weight into the other offensive lineman. …

“I feel like I had to come to that (mindset) in college. That it’s not me making the play directly, but I’m still making the play by taking two players and letting my linebackers go free. I find joy in that, as well, just being a part of this team and being part of the overall defensive scheme.”