clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 NFL mock draft: Detroit Lions select DT Keeanu Benton with pick No. 48

With their first of two second-round picks in the POD Community Mock Draft, the Detroit Lions add to the trenches.

Maryland v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

Our 2023 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft has made it into the second round, and so far, we have seen 47 picks come off the board, bringing us back to the Detroit Lions and pick No. 48 overall.

If you haven’t been following along with all of the selections, you can get caught up in our 2023 POD community mock draft tracker, or if you’re just interested in the Lions picks, you can see those write-ups here:

No. 6: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
No. 18: Darnell Wright, OL, Tennessee

As we laid out in our latest poll, the Lions could go a few different ways with the pick, and the top options we asked readers to vote on included:

Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas State
B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
Drew Sanders, MIKE, Arkansas

As is tradition, I made my selection before the vote—so as not to be influenced by the poll results—and as it turns out, I ended up selecting the runner-up in the fan vote—just like I did with my previous two selections.

No. 48: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin

Both of my first-round selections were made with the future in mind, but now that we have dipped into the second round, it’s a good time to find value on the defensive line.

Benton—6-foot-4, 309 pounds with a nearly 34-inch arm length—has an ideal NFL frame for the defensive tackle position, while also possessing power and quickness at the snap. He lined up at nose tackle in Wisconsin’s base 34 scheme, but he was not limited to just the traditional 1/0-technique roles, as he also has some snap experience at the 3-technique—which the Lions will occasionally ask their nose tackle to do.

Benton’s game is power based and he is one of the best run-stuffers in this class because he understands how to use it. He is routinely using his first-step quickness and punch to reset the line of scrimmage, but he will get too high at times, which will allow him to be out-leveraged. This is a correctable flaw, and Benton has the athleticism to improve this early in his rookie season.

As a pass rusher, Benton didn’t show much consistency because of his role in the Badgers scheme, but he flashed impressive pass rush quickness and hand placement at the Senior Bowl, which indicates he could be more than just a simple run plugger. This trait should only get better as he gains more experience outside of a 34 scheme.

Benton would give the Lions yet another nose tackle option to lean on in the trenches. While his addition won’t immediately help the Lions' interior pass rush, his best skill is as a run defender, which was arguably the Lions' biggest defensive flaw in 2022.

Alright time to vote. What grade do you give the Lions for drafting Keeanu Benton?


What grade do you give the Lions for drafting Keeanu Benton?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    (626 votes)
  • 42%
    (663 votes)
  • 13%
    (208 votes)
  • 2%
    (39 votes)
  • 2%
    (33 votes)
1569 votes total Vote Now

Pride of Detroit Direct

Sign up now for a 7-day free trial of Pride of Detroit Direct, with exclusive updates from Jeremy Reisman on the ground at Allen Park, instant reactions after each game, and in-depth Lions analysis from film expert Jon Ledyard.