Keeanu Benton Scouting Report and NFL Draft Player Profile

Keeanu Benton Scouting Report and Draft Profile


2023 NFL Draft Measurements

Keeanu Benton 40-Yard Dash Time – 5.36

6’4” / 315 lbs.


Keeanu Benton Draft Profile

Keeanu Benton is a former 3-star recruit out of Craig High School in Janesville, Wisconsin. According to 247sports, coming out of high school Benton was ranked as the 5th best player in the state of Wisconsin. Although he was the 5th best player in the state, he was the 1,238th best player in the nation. So, it is safe to say that his game went unnoticed. With that being said, he only received offers from two Division I programs. Those schools were the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin. After visiting Wisconsin, he decided that he wanted to stay in his home state and play for the Badgers.

Upon arrival in Madison, Wisconsin, Benton got some snaps as a true freshman. According to uwbadgers, he played in 13 games with 6 starts at nose tackle. In these games, he had 12 total tackles and 2 sacks. In his sophomore season, his production increased but his snap count decreased. He only played in 7 games this season at nose tackle, but racked up 9 tackles and 2 forced fumbles. During his senior season, he started all 13 games and had 25 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. This led to him being named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. Finally, so far this season, he racked up 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 pass deflections.




Play Strength

Keeanu Benton is one of the most powerful defensive tackles in the nation. He has a very good bull rush due to his ability to stay low and drive defenders upwards at the point of attack. When bull rushing, he does a good job of keeping his hands on the inside and using his very strong lower body to force the opposing lineman to drop the anchor. Against the run, he does a good job of using his strength to hold his ground against drive blocks. Having the ability to stay upright and balanced through drive blocks allows him to clog running lanes and stuff the run.


Pass Rush

Benton is a very skillful pass rusher when he is lined up as a nose tackle or 3-Technique defensive lineman. He does a good job of coming up with a pass-rushing plan and properly executing that plan quickly. Benton is very gifted at closing on the quarterback and forcing them to move outside of the pocket. In order to close out on the quarterback, he can either shed a block or drive the blocker into the quarterback. This then sets his teammates up to either sack the quarterback or make a play on the ball if it is thrown.


Stuffing the Run

As I briefly mentioned earlier, Benton does a good job of holding his ground against drive blocks on inside gap and zone runs. He is also good at neutralizing blocks due to his ability to explode off the snap and use raw power to ensure the opposing lineman doesn’t get any leverage. His bull rush is also very impressive against the run. By using his lower body and hand placement to drive back the blocker, he is minimizing the space that the ball carrier has. This often forces the ball carrier to make a mistake and lose yardage on the play. His ability to stuff the run is also shown when he can gain leverage in run gaps. By gaining this leverage, he is clogging inside lanes often forcing the running back to go to the outside.


Reading the Offense

When the ball is snapped, I am really impressed with Benton’s ability to diagnose the offense and quickly adjust his rush. He does this by keeping his eye on the ball while he is rushing the pocket. By keeping his eye on the ball, he can quickly tell if it is a run or pass play. If it is a run play, he knows that he needs to clog a lane. On a pass play, he knows he needs to apply pressure on the QB.




Play Speed

Although Benton is a wonderful pass rusher, he does lack the athletic ability to be very effective at the next level. Benton is not very quick or agile which often hinders his ability to be unpredictable with his rush. He struggles at getting upfield quickly after the initial burst of explosiveness off the snap. When pursuing the ball carrier, he has marginal agility through traffic due to his lack of quickness and lateral agility.


Pad Level

When rushing the passer, Benton is very effective but he has a tendency to get too vertical at the point of attack. Given that Benton has a bigger frame, standing at 6’4” and weighing 315 lbs., he has a tendency to stay vertical. When he stays vertical, he is forced onto his heels and often removed from the play.


Keeanu Benton Draft Stock

Keeanu Benton will be a day-3 pick and should go to a team that uses him as a rotational nose tackle. He would also be a solid fit for a team that is looking to develop a 3-technique for a few years before they get consistent playing time.


Final Thoughts on Keeanu Benton Scouting Report

Overall, Keeanu Benton is one of the most gifted pass rushers in the Big Ten. His explosiveness off the snap and ability to use his lower body to bull rush the passer is very impressive. He also shows glimpses of being an effective run-stopper at the next level due to his ability to clog lanes. But, in order for him to be effective in the NFL, he needs to work on his quickness and lateral agility.


Keeanu Benton Player Comparison

Benton’s strengths and weaknesses remind me of a raw version of Perrion Winfrey.



Keeanu Benton Scouting Report and Player Profile Analyst – Matthew Lewis