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‘He Flashed Big Time’: Daniel Jeremiah Offers Huge Praise for Keeanu Benton

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes that Keeanu Benton could be a name to remember coming into his second year as a pro.



Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton
Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton at the team's OTAs, May 21, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Want to find a breakout candidate for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024? It can be hard because George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth, Joey Porter Jr., and others have broken out. Sure, they can try to become even better, but a true breakout means someone announcing their name onto the scene dramatically. Those three players, for example, have already done that in past seasons. But the best pick might be Keeanu Benton.

The second-year Wisconsin product had great tape last year and finished stronger than he started. But it never translated into the stat sheet. Benton got close to making several splash plays a season ago, but instead of finishing, they often ended up just shy of landing sacks or tackles for losses. So, a lighter version of Benton is coming into training camp in 2024.

Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton

Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton at the team’s OTAs, May 30, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“When we watched the tape, he left seven sacks on the field,” defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said during minicamp last week. “He has to finish. That’s the thing, I think.”

That’s a folly from Keeanu Benton. But he was a rookie; most of those guys make mistakes, and some areas must be improved. Daniel Jeremiah was impressed by what Benton did last year, too, and he thinks he should be someone everyone remembers the name of in 2024.

“With Pittsburgh, let me give you a name here,” Jeremiah said on the Move the Sticks Podcast. “If you haven’t paid attention to him or you didn’t notice him last year, remember the name Keeanu Benton. Because man, he is explosive, and he flashed big time last year.”

Benton is gaining praise from more pundits as they dig into the Steelers front seven. It is one of the better units in the entire NFL, and Benton has the potential to make it even better. The second-year jump from him could compensate for some loss of production if Cam Heyward or Larry Ogunjobi do not rebound.