Why the Slide?: Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia

Our “Why the Slide” series parallels and grew out our “Why Undrafted” series. The latter was created a number of years ago in response to your questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For both series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

After leading Georgia to back-to-back National Championships, quarterback Stetson Bennett will forever be a legend in Athens, Georgia. At no point during his epic run with the Bulldogs, howeer, was Bennett projected to be a first-round pick. He was viewed generally as a late-rounder, although he started to get some late draft buzz toward the end of the 2022 season. There were even some in the media who projected Bennett to go on the second day of the draft, but he slid to Day 3.

Team sources told WalterFootball.com they did not see a slide for Bennett given that he was a consensus third-day prospect with multiple teams. Some franchises had him as a very late-rounder because he lacks the physical skill set of a typical starting quarterback in the NFL. On top of the physical talent issue, some teams said character concerns hurt Bennett with them and caused them to not have Bennett in consideration for their selections on the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Los Angeles Rams ended Bennett’s slide in the fourth round. They were a good landing spot for him. Bennett was fortunate that he did not slide lower than Round 4 because other teams did not have Bennett in that range. The Rams have an established starter in Matthew Stafford, but Bennett should be gifted a backup spot over Brett Rypien and Dresser Winn. Stafford is oft-injured, so Bennett could be forced onto the field on any given Sunday. Given that Stafford is an aging veteran with durability concerns, it would not be shocking if he retired before too long. If Bennett impresses with the Rams at practice and in the team facility, he could make himself into being a candidate to replace Stafford. However, Rams head coach Sean McVay does like to collect quarterbacks, so Bennett will probably see plenty of trigger-men being brought in for competition. That being said, Bennett has a great opportunity to build a pro career with the Rams.

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