The Cleveland Browns have seen a revolving door at the defensive tackle position these past few seasons.
From Sheldon Richardson to Vincent Taylor, Sheldon Day, Malik McDowell, Andrew Billings, Malik Jackson, Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai and a host of others, the team has yet to be able to find positively consistent play at the position.
General manager Andrew Berry has gone back to the drawing board this offseason with the additions of Dalvin Tomlinson, Maurice Hurst and Trysten Hill in free agency, but outside of Tomlinson, the group is still uninspiring.
Berry will have another chance to address the situation in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Wisconsin defensive tackle Keeanu Benton, a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection as a senior, might catch Berry’s eye if he is available when the Browns are on the clock in the third round.
Let’s take a run through Benton’s profile:
Name: Keeanu Benton
Position: Defensive tackle
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 309 pounds
College: Wisconsin Badgers
Stats (4 seasons): 39 games, 44 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 9 sacks.
Relative Athletic Score:
Keeanu Benton is a DT prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.88 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 179 out of 1585 DT from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/RvKBRtwCVl #RAS pic.twitter.com/jAzLLMme8Z— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 7, 2023
Average “Big Board” Position As of Publishing Date
57th overall (NFL Mock Draft Database)
Projected Grade/Round Value
TDN Consensus Grade: 77/100 (Third-Round Value)
PFF Big Board Rank: 55 (third round)
What an Expert is Saying
I mean you can pick any one you like... but a lot of Keeanu Benton's plays vs. the run look like this: pic.twitter.com/8pvep5P5Fu— EJ Snyder (@FootballEJ) April 4, 2023
Pros and Cons
Benton would presumably fit in well on a Cleveland defense that has struggled to stop the run in recent years. As The Draft Network points out in its summary, Benton’s ideal role would be to clog running lanes and handle double teams, which he would rarely see in Cleveland while lining up next to Tomlinson.
It will take some work on his part and some patience from the team, but Benton has the combination of strength and speed that if he continues to work on his game he can become a three-down player at the NFL level.
Browns Player Drafting Could Impact
Essentially every defensive tackle currently on the roster who is not named Dalvin Tomlinson, a list that includes newcomers Hurst and Hill, and incumbents Elliott, Togiai, Perrion Winfrey and others.
Medium to High: Andrew Berry has been working this offseason to address the defensive tackle position, with Tomlinson being the top signing. Everyone else is basically just a placeholder until a better option comes along. If Benton is still there where the Browns are on the clock in the third round, Berry will have to take a very long and hard look at selecting him to pair with Tomlinson and give Cleveland a much-improved defensive line.