Stetson Bennett doesn’t appear to be a guy who fits in. He is about the smallest quarterback to come out of college. But here’s the thing – he can play a little.
Check that; he can play a lot.
On the third day of the NFL Draft, we found out where he’s going to play. And maybe it was something of a surprise that he went in the fourth round, chosen by the Los Angeles Rams. The odds on him going in that round, as they were posted at BetOnline, were +1400. Most expected him to be selected in the fifth (+500) or sixth (+350) round.
And his presence with the Rams may turn out to be significant, as we’ll discuss.
Bennett has been around the horn, as they say. When he came out of high school he had only two offers, which came from Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee. Seeing as those schools were outside of the “Power 5,” it wouldn’t normally have been expected the kid might wind up winning two national titles with the biggest program of them all, in the toughest conference of them all.
But that’s what happened. Bennett made the Georgia team as a walk-on, then made a pit stop to junior college, then went back to Georgia.
When JT Daniels transferred from USC to the Bulldogs, he was not only expected to be the starting quarterback, he was also rated as one of the top Heisman contenders. Well, Bennett beat him out for the starting position, in effect not once but twice.
And he was far from a “game manager.” Bennett put up some pretty impressive numbers over the last couple of seasons, with 56 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. He disappointed no one in Georgia’s repeat campaign, with 4132 yards and 68% accuracy.
In other words, he’s not exactly backing into the NFL.
And he can make just about all the throws; the ones the scouts look for. But the big problem is that he just doesn’t have the size anybody looks for at the position.
At 5-11 and 190 pounds, he’s not big enough to sustain much punishment in the pocket. Of course, Alabama’s Bryce Young (taken #1 by Carolina) has roughly the same dimensions, but he gets a lot more consideration because of his “playmaking ability.”
But Bennett can scamper a little. And you can’t argue with the fact that he didn’t disappear when it was time to shine on the biggest stage possible. Naturally, you have to look at the level of talent he’s had the opportunity to play with. The Bulldogs were just about always going to have a man-for-man advantage over their opponents, as you might expect from a team that wins its national title game by a 65-7 margin.
Still, you can’t survive as an undersized quarterback in the SEC without having some smarts, and in that regard Bennett has to score big.
And ultimately there is going to be some value placed on that sort of thing in the NFL.
Our original train of thought was that Bennett would be a guy who could hold a clipboard for a couple of years, and maybe stick around on a practice squad. But apparently he was a particular favorite of Rams GM Les Snead, who wanted to grab him before somebody else did. And head coach Sean McVay is actually hoping he can be the backup to Matthew Stafford.
One must take note that Stafford isn’t as durable as he used to be – he missed the last eight games of the 2022 season with a spinal cord contusion – so you never know when a backup is going to be called upon. And so you have to speculate that Bennett’s “advanced” age (26 by the time the season starts), which was considered to be something of an albatross, might equate to life wisdom, and thus become an advantage.
So if the proposition at the top was whether size was going to be the issue with Bennett, it’s not much of a concern to the Rams, who are priced at +550 to win the NFC West and +6600 to win the Super Bowl at BetOnline (with an over-under of 7.5 wins), where you can feast on NFL Futures betting RIGHT NOW, and make your deposits using your credit card or choose from the many crypto options they have ready and waiting for you!