May 28, 2024

Film Room: Keeanu Benton Shows Off Impressive Power Against Cardinals

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a 24-10 defeat against the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday, showcasing numerous issues on tape. However, amidst the overall struggles, one bright spot emerged in the form of rookie defensive lineman Keeanu Benton.

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Despite being limited to just 24 snaps due to the Steelers frequently utilizing sub-packages and rotating in Armon Watts in the base defense, Benton made a significant impact against the Cardinals. He demonstrated his dominance with a combination of power and quickness, earning praise for his performance.

Benton’s defensive grade against the Cardinals was the team’s highest at 84.5, excelling both against the run with a score of 74.3 and as a pass rusher with a rating of 77.0. He recorded two pressures and a batted pass at the line during the game. Notably, Benton showcased his effectiveness using the slanted nose technique, a trend worth monitoring in his future performances.

Analyzing Benton’s plays, one notable instance occurred early in the game when he disrupted a play by aligning as a slanted nose, creating problems for the opposing left guard. His quick get-off at the snap allowed him to penetrate and disrupt a counter play, showcasing his contribution to the team’s run defense.

Film Room: Keeanu Benton Can Turn The Corner - Steelers Depot

Benton’s prowess as a pass rusher was evident in his quickness and strategic moves. Aligned over the center in a true nose guard role, he showcased a pseudo Euro step followed by a powerful club move to unsettle the opposing center. This led to a well-executed rip underneath and a bat-down of a Kyler Murray pass, displaying Benton’s hand usage and awareness.

The rookie’s strengths in the run game, a key factor that attracted the Steelers during his draft, were on full display. Despite occasional challenges in defending the run in the NFL, Benton exhibited intelligence and awareness. In one play, he effectively engaged with a down-blocking guard, Will Hernandez, gaining leverage and control, ultimately plugging the hole and positioning himself to make a play.

Although Benton faced limited playing time due to a reported oblique issue, he showcased impressive power against the run in the third quarter, drawing comparisons to a young Cameron Heyward. Notably, his exceptional play included overpowering the opposing center, forcing a fumble despite the Steelers being unable to recover the loose ball.

Benton’s remarkable performance, especially from the slanted nose technique, showcased his potential and left a lasting impression on the defensive line room.

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