NFL teams ready to give Stetson Bennett his next chance, storybook career continues

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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett warms up before he runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy

ATHENS — Kirby Smart referred to Stetson Bennett is a “great symbol of perseverance” last week and has stood behind him as a viable NFL Draft candidate.

The departing Georgia quarterback has reportedly been making the rounds visiting NFL teams, many wanting to learn more about the two-time CFP Championship Game MVP.

Some can and will debate how much of it was Bennett, versus how much of it was Georgia’s elite defense and star-studded supporting cast.

But Bennett showed enough of his own talents in marquee wins over Oregon, South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee and TCU to have at least earned a chance at the NFL.

Bennett exhibited more arm strength along with better accuracy, footwork and decision-making in his third season working in Todd Monken’s system.

Smart did his part to get the most out of Bennett, too, pushing him along last spring with a public challenge.

“We have high expectations for Stetson,” Smart said last March, “but we also have high standards for what we expect Stetson to do in terms of leading our offense, going to class, and doing the right thing.

“We are still challenging him to do those things.”

RELATED: Reflecting on Kirby’s 2022 spring messages

Bennett got the message on the field, but it has been well-documented his success story at Georgia did not carry over to the class room and perhaps not even off the field.

UGA advertised on the SoFi Stadium Stadium that Bennett was among the “seniors graduating in May” (of 2023), reminding everyone that Bennett does not have his bachelor’s degree yet.

It’s hard to imagine NFL teams would hold that against Bennett, but as former teammate Jake Fromm pointed out, it’s hard to know exactly how coaches and franchises feel about Bennett.

Fromm said on DawgNation Daily that Bennett’s NFL combine performance went well, and “the only thing that leaves things in the air was, how were the meetings? How did they go?”

RELATED: Return of the ‘old’ Stetson Bennett at Pro Day a good sign

Fromm pointed out teams do not discuss or share the results of their psychological evaluations of the players.

Former veteran NFL assistant Terry Robiskie said during the On The Beat show franchises have taken note of Bennett’s heart and heroic performances.

But those same teams investigate players off the field, Robiskie saying he often visited classrooms and other team personnel to learn more about the player.

The story of Bennett’s incredible journey — from walk-on, to junior college transfer, to fourth-string backup at Georgia and ultimately championship quarterback — is on the verge of a new chapter.

Bennett’s next step will be into an NFL locker room where he will look to make the most of whatever chances are ahead.

It’s a good sign that some NFL teams, with the draft a month ahead, are interested in learning more from Bennett about his story.

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