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Steelers’ Cam Heyward acting as mentor for rookie Keeanu Benton

The Steelers drafted Keeanu Benton in the second round of this year’s draft, and he’s been learning alongside veteran Cam Heyward.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Heyward is entering his 13th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is the longest-tenured member on the roster.

Like a fine wine, Heyward has aged well in his NFL career, making the Pro Bowl in each of his last six seasons. During that span, there are very few, if any, who can make the argument that they have played better than Heyward. But given the fact that he is 34 years old, the Steelers drafted his potential long-term replacement this offseason in second-round pick out of Wisconsin, Keeanu Benton.

Benton may not start right away for the Steelers, sitting behind Montravius Adams and Breiden Fehoko on the depth chart, but he’s learning alongside Heyward in hopes of reaching that starting spot next to him very soon.

“I just followed him around for the offseason, worked out with him for a couple of weeks, making sure I’m ready for coming out here and it paid off,” Benton said via “I’m physically ready conditioning wise. Coach (Mike) Tomlin said physical conditioning precedes everything else. That was a plus getting to work with Cam and coming out here and having the extra energy to take those extra reps.”

In his final collegiate season, Benton recorded 10 tackles for loss, proving that there is a lot of talent there, along with an ability to meet running backs in the backfield. He is adopting the right mindset as a rookie, soaking in as much knowledge as possible from players with legitimate pedigrees.

Benton may have to work his way to earn playing time in an already strong defense, but the more he learns from Heyward and develops into a pro player, the likelier he is to see the field this season.