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30-Days, 30 Prospects: DAY 18 – Defensive Tackle Keeanu Benton

Keeanu Benton is a high-rising prospect in this year’s NFL Draft, as he has taken full advantage of every moment to display his skills leading up to the draft. At the Senior Bowl, Benton wowed coaches and scouts with his ability to effectively play the nose tackle, one, and three-technique, placing the official seal of versatility on his name.

At Wisconsin, Benton showed excellent leverage at the point of attack, moving lineman at will with his strong hands. Benton is fundamentally disciplined, maintaining a low pad level while displaying power when driving lineman behind the line of scrimmage. Additionally, Benton is also excellent with handling double teams, using an imposing bull rush to disrupt combo blocking. In pass rushing situations, Benton is most effective at the three-technique, often winning the battle at the point of attack.

There are times, however, where Benton loses his fundamentals in the later stages of games. Benton has a tendency to play too high, compromising his pad level, which leads to him getting washed down the line as a result.

If Benton is available at #70 overall, look for the Raiders to quickly make the call to select the versatile defensive tackle. His excellent pass-rushing and adequate run stopping ability, combined with the ability to take on the double team, makes him an immediate centerpiece in the interior. In effect, selecting Benton also creates competition in the defensive tackle room, as it will put 2022 draft picks Neil Farrell Jr. and Matthew Butler on alert, which could spark a breakout season from one of the 2nd-year guys at the position. Things could get interesting.

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