ATHENS — Georgia has three projected first-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft, and while Stetson Bennett is not one of them, he could still get a shot.

An NFL source told DawgNation that some teams have a third-day draft grade — rounds 5-7 — on Bennett and others would be willing to sign him as a free agent. The 2023 NFL Draft takes place April 27-29.

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Bennett is being evaluated with each outing, and his next opportunity to prove his talents will come in a showdown with Ohio State in the CFP Peach Bowl Semifinal at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31.

The Buckeyes, it should be noted, have two projected Top 10 picks per Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft, including quarterback C.J. Stroud.

McShay’s mock draft, located on the ESPN pay site, features three SEC quarterbacks going in the first round:

1. Bryce Young, Houston Texans

6. Will Levis, Atlanta Falcons

11. Anthony Richardson, Carolina Panthers

Former NFL scout, collegiate coach and quarterback Jordan Reid ranks Bennett 13th among the QBs expected to be eligible for the draft in his pay site article:

1. Bryce Young, Alabama

2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

3. Anthony Richardson, Florida

4. Will Levis, Kentucky

5. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

6. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

7. Bo Nix, Oregon

8. Tanner McKee, Stanford

9. Jaren Hall, BYU

10. Jake Haener, Fresno State

11. Tyson Bagent, Shepherd

12. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

13. Stetson Bennett, Georgia

14. Clayton Tune, Houston

15. Max Duggan, TCU

The list isn’t likely to bother or discourage Bennett, who, as Kirby Smart pointed out at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York.

RELATED: Stetson Bennett knows he earned his trip to New York as Heisman Trophy finalist

“We kept thinking he wasn’t good enough,” Smart said, “and he kept proving us wrong over and over and over again.”

Indeed, Georgia pursued Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams in the transfer portal even after Bennett won MVP honors in the CFP Championship Game last season.

Bennett’s response was to say in a live interview the next day on Good Morning America that he would be playing football somewhere this season, even if it wasn’t for the Bulldogs.

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The NFL ranks will be even more challenging for Bennett with more parity between the teams and more consistent play necessary on a game-by-game basis.

Reid points out that Bennett will turn 26 during his NFL rookie season, “which might concern some teams,” and added that he “also won’t meet a lot of teams’ threshold for size at the position.”

Georgia lists Bennett as 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds on its media platforms.

NFL teams will get complete, dialed-in measurements either at the NFL combine or at the school’s Pro Day event in March.

Reid notes Bennett is considered a “gamer” who plays with instincts and savvy, able to create after plays break down.

“A surplus of talent at Georgia helped uplift his deficiencies,” Reid notes in his report, “but he has enough arm strength for the next level. Case Keenum has been a common comparison for him among NFL scouts.”

Keenum, who set passing records at Houston from 2006-11, went undrafted but is in his 11th year in the NFL and is currently the backup to Josh Allen on the Buffalo Bills.

Reid suggests the Denver Broncos, currently led by Russell Wilson, could be a franchise that would give Bennett a shot.

“The odds are heavily against Bennett being a long-term solution for any team,” Reid said, “but he’s worth a shot as a well-accomplished late-round hopeful.”

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Bennett ranked ninth among the quarterbacks.

Kiper, unlike McShay, has Kentucky’s Levis atop his QB list.

Smart has signed three quarterbacks who were with Georgia for at least one season and are now currently in the NFL:

• Jacob Eason, who transferred to Washington following the 2017 season, was a fourth-round NFL pick and is on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad.

• Justin Fields, who transferred to Ohio State following the 2018 season, was a first-round NFL pick and is the starting QB for the Chicago Bears.

RELATED: Ohio State coach recalls how Kirby handled Fields transfer, what QB said about Georgia

• Jake Fromm, who left Georgia early following his junior year of 2019, was a fifth-round NFL pick and is on the Washington Commanders practice squad.