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Is Keeanu Benton A Darkhorse Defensive Rookie Of The Year?

If we learned anything from this year's Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, it was that Keeanu Benton's potential has no limits.

During the week of practice at the event, Benton proved to be almost unblockable while facing some of the top offensive linemen college football had to offer. By the end of the week, Benton was arguably the most dominant player on both rosters.

Though his numbers may not necessarily reflect his production during his senior year with Wisconsin, Benton still finished with a 13.4% pass-rush win rate and an overall pass-rush grade of 83.6. His ability to combine raw strength with an arsenal of moves and counters makes him a unique specimen for an interior lineman.

Coming into his rookie season, Benton will have the privilege of playing on one of the top defensive lines in the NFL. One that includes All-Pro defensemen such as Cam Heyward and TJ Watt, who are generally the subjects of opposing offensive schemes. Benton's versatility affords him the ability to play both at nose and defensive tackle, where he is equally effective.

Even if Benton does not produce high sack numbers, his ability to cause disruptions in the backfield and make plays, could draw the attention of members of the Associated Press responsible for deciding this year's defensive rookie of the year. Though nothing is certain, one should not be surprised if Benton is able to become an instant impact player.

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