Browns draft: 6 players to watch at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine

Michigan v Wisconsin
Michigan v Wisconsin / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Keeanu Benton, Taulia Tagovailoa, Browns
Maryland v Wisconsin / John Fisher/GettyImages

3. Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin

One of the primary concerns on defense for Cleveland in 2022 was their lack of run-stuffers. Departing defensive cooridinator Joe Woods didn't use typical nose tackles and had the philosophy of getting after the run on the way to the quarterback.

In a pass-happy NFL, this isn't the worst strategy, but you still need someone to stop the run when teams decide they're going to use that to dictate the pace of the game. The hope heading into this season is that new defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, will emphasize the dun game a bit more.

With that in mind, Keeanu Benton would be a perfect addition to the line and would help Schwartz immensely in that goal. What's even better, is that Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network says Benton is capable of not only playing the 1-tech but can be effective as a 3-tech as well.

"From 1-tech to 3-tech, Benton can easily one-gap interior blockers. He gains control early, uses his leg drive to displace, and can slab blockers with one arm while establishing a half-man relationship to clog gaps. He establishes anchors quickly, absorbs initial contact with his lower body strength, and can deconstruct with force. Benton is hard to displace, but when he does suffer displacement, he shows off great recovery strength. He’s able to plant his base, lock out, and stall movement midway through reps."

Cummings, Pro Football Network

This is important since it means Benton can play on all three downs, which is different than most 1-techs. That's why many general managers pass on nose tackles, since they don't believe there's enough value there.

Benton offers that value and the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder from Wisconsin should be a lot of fun to watch this week as he shows off in Indy.