NY Jets help Aaron Rodgers in post-trade 7-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft
By Justin Fried
Round 2, 43rd Overall, NY Jets: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Keeanu Benton is one of my draft crushes this year. A four-year starter at Wisconsin, Benton is one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in this year's class, with the athleticism to provide a high ceiling as a pass rusher as well.
Barring a trade-down, the Jets will need to be very selective with the route they go in the second round. The Jets don't pick again until the fourth round, so they need to make this selection count.
I stuck with the trenches and gave head coach Robert Saleh another exciting young defensive lineman to work with. Benton can slot in immediately as a contributor on early downs.
The 21-year-old never put up gaudy numbers at Wisconsin, with his best season coming in 2022 when he finished with 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 12 games. He wasn't exactly asked to be a stats guy, however.
Benton was a force in the middle of Wisconsin's defense, eating up blocks and penetrating into the backfield. He was predominantly asked to be a 1-technique run-stopper, but he flashed plenty of pass-rush potential at the Senior Bowl.
At 6-foot-4, 309 pounds, Benton has great size for the position that he blends with impressive athleticism. Benton scored an excellent 8.9 on the Relative Athletic Score, with top-tier times in the 3-cone and broad jump.
I love Benton as an early-down starter alongside Quinnen Williams in the Jets' base 4-3 defense. Let Quinton Jefferson come in as a rotational 3-technique on passing downs, while Benton could eventually develop into more of a three-down role in the future.