Few human beings have enjoyed more success in college football that Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, which is all the more remarkable given how long, arduous, and unlikely his road to being a starter in the SEC was a few years ago. It’s a story heard a thousand times by college football fans already, but here’s the brisk NFL-related version:
Bennett was a star high school quarterback in Georgia but not recruited by many programs because of his height: 5’9 then, 5’11 now, and who knows what is truly accurate? He walked on at Georgia, then transferred after the team landed Justin Fields as a recruit a year later, then transferred back when Fields failed to beat out Jake Fromm and left for Ohio State. In 2021, his fifth season since graduating high school, Bennett became the unlikely starter on the best team in the country, going 13-1 after replacing JT Daniels in Week 2.
His only loss was to Alabama in the SEC Championship, but Bennett went 17-of-26 for 224 yards and two touchdowns to beat the Crimson Tide—and Bryce Young—for the national title.
Bennett returned for a sixth college season in 2022, going 15-0 as the starter and winning a second national championship; he threw 11 touchdowns and one interception, also rushing for three touchdowns, during Georgia’s all-important final three games against LSUOhio State, and TCU extension.
Bennett finishes his college career by going 28-1 with 56 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 11 rushing touchdowns as a fifth-year and sixth-year senior. Believers will say that he’s just a guy who gets the job done and that he was the most successful college quarterback over the last two seasons in terms of winning. Skeptics will point to how good Georgia’s defense has been the last two years and his size concerns him.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said that he believes Stetson Bennett will “probably” end up being a third round selection in the NFL Draft.
The last time Georgia had a QB go within the first three rounds was Matthew Stafford in 2009 pic.twitter.com/LKS8MZFDeL
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) January 25, 2023
ESPN’s Mel Kiper made the news on Wednesday by releasing his first mock draft of the year and though nobody expected Bennett to go in the first round, many are still asking “Where does Bennett go?” The answer according to Kiper is the third round.
That’s Les Snead territory, baby.
With an uncertain situation behind Matthew Stafford, as Baker Mayfield is a free agent and there are no other clear options, the LA Rams could choose to use a draft selection on a quarterback for the first time since Jared Goff. Bennett would be lucky to land with Sean McVay as his first head coach and with Stafford and Cooper Kupp as teammates and mentors. It also makes sense from a “star” perspective, as Les Snead likes to land big names whenever possible and though the Rams are out of range for the top-ranked quarterback prospects, Bennett is about as big as “names” get in the 2023 draft.
The Rams have pick 36 in the second round and their third round pick, although they could end up getting additional picks if a team hires Raheem Morris or Thomas Brown as a head coach.
Similar to some other college QB stars of the past, like say Eric Crouch, a Rams pick from 2002 who won the Heisman but unlike Bennett was not viewed as an NFL quarterback of any kind, everyone will be waiting on day two and potentially day three to find out which teams lands the Georgia star.
Without a chance for some of the other big names, unless Will Levis or Anthony Richardson fall out of the top-30, Stetson Bennett could be the most Rams-y quarterback left on the board.