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Locked On Steelers: Will Benton, Leal form Eagles-Like Second-Wave DL?



In many ways, the Philadelphia Eagles have been the model franchise for the Pittsburgh Steelers current rebuild, and that makes a lot of sense, with assistant general manager Andy Weidl coming over from the Eagles to help Omar Khan steer the ship.

One of the things that has made the Eagles so successful is the strong play in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Weidl’s influence on the offensive line has gotten a lot of attention, with him helping to bring in guard Isaac Seumalo from the Eagles and former Philly guard Nate Herbig as free agents, and the club drafting left tackle Broderick Jones in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The impact on the defense has been more nuanced, where the Steelers bring back their front four from the 2022 season. But the depth has been greatly improved compared to where it was a year ago. Markus Golden and Nick Herbig have been added to the rotation at edge rusher, veterans Breiden Fehoko and Armon Watts should provide stout depth up the middle. DeMarvin Leal is back after missing a big chunk of his rookie season from injury, and the club added second-round nose tackle Keeanu Benton to the mix in the draft.

The Eagles defense that went to the Super Bowl in January had Josh Sweat, Fletcher Cox, Linval Joseph, Javon Hargrave in one wave and Haason Reddick, Brandon Graham, Ndamukong Duh and Jordan Davis in another. It doesn’t seem that the Steelers are quite there yet, but they seem to be a lot further down that path than they were in 2021 and 2022, when injuries to Watt, Leal, Stephon Tuitt and Chris Wormley exposed their lack of depth on the defensive front.

Alan Saunders of Steelers Now joined Chris Carter of the Locked On Steelers podcast to discuss how good the Steelers defensive front can be, plus broke down the signing of linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and tried to figure out what went wrong between the Steelers and Anthony Miller.

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