Stetson Bennett might be 5-foot-11, but he finished with a 29-3 career record at Georgia.
It’s seemingly become common practice for teams to double up on the QB position through free agency and the NFL Draft at the start of a new regime to infuse talent and create competition in training camp. That’s the mainly the case for the backup role in Kansas City. When Patrick Mahomes went down with a high-ankle sprain in moments during the postseason, many pundits (including myself) attempted to use it as proof that a good backup is essential, even though the injury ultimately didn’t cost the Chiefs one bit.
Kansas City has two other quarterbacks on its roster besides Patrick Mahomes. Shane Buechele is currently Mahomes’ primary backup. Buechele served as the Chiefs’ third-string QB behind Mahomes and Chad Henne. Henne, the primary backup quarterback to Patrick Mahomes for five seasons, retired immediately after the Chiefs won Super Bowl LVII.
The Chiefs also carry a QB on their practice squad in Chris Oladokun. The 25-year-old hasn’t suited up in the NFL yet, but he played quarterback at South Florida, Samford and South Dakota State in college.
Since teams are only allowed to dress two QBs on game days, Buechele has drawn the inactive label throughout his tenure. Buechele opened the 2021 season on Kansas City’s practice squad but was promoted the 53-man roster because the Arizona Cardinals wanted his services. Buechele spent the entire 2022 season on the Chiefs’ active roster, but he was a healthy scratch for each contest and the whole postseason. Buechele’s two seasons in this offense likely make him the early favorite for the backup role in 2023.
However, it is with my belief that the Chiefs will still look for competition behind Mahomes. If anybody remembers the HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series finale featuring the 2012 Miami Dolphins, where David Garrard who was a very established veteran QB in the NFL got cut in training camp due to the unexpected development of undrafted quarterback Pat Devlin. “Pat Devlin’s gotten better,” said then Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. “He’s throwing the ball well.” It’s hard to develop when you don’t touch the football especially for guys like Buechele and Oladokun.
At the end of the day, Brett Veach and the front office will continue to find the players who give the Chiefs the best chance to win while keeping an eye on the future and player development. The Chiefs have to consider a few other backup options to address via free agency. Carson Wentz is an option, and yes, Matty Ice, too. The Draft where you have prospects like Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell, Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, Fresno State and Senior Bowl MVP Jake Haener and Houston’s Clayton Tune as options.
There is one player that I have watch in college in the last two seasons who has been in the spotlight but who has not had much discussion on his NFL future: A two-time national champion from Georgia, Stetson Bennett. With that in mind, here’s why I believe Chiefs should consider Bennett as the Chiefs’ next backup QB for the 2023 NFL Season.
Bennett comes from a football family, with his grandfather, Buddy, playing QB for South Carolina. His father, Stetson III, took snaps at Georgia Southern before deciding to transfer to Georgia for pharmacy school. Stetson IV signed with Georgia as a walk-on in 2017. He was with Jake Fromm and Justin Fields on the Georgia roster in 2018, however, Bennett transferred to Jones College. He nearly signed with the University of Louisiana before Georgia reached out to see if he would return for 2019, with Fields transferring to Ohio State. Since 2021, Bennett has put up much dominant numbers with the Bulldogs, throwing for 6,989 yards, 56 TDs and just 14 INTs along with quarterbacking the Bulldogs to two consecutive national championships under coach Kirby Smart and attending the Heisman Trophy presentation as a finalist last December.
Bennett is listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, clearly miles away from the ideal modern-day quarterback physique has him firmly in the Day 3 discussion and some maturity concerns, with a recent arrest for public intoxication in Dallas, have people wondering if Bennett will be drafted at all. However, Bennett is a similar size to projected top overall pick Bryce Young but has a better resume despite the size. He’ll be 26 years old in October (Older than Oladokun, 25).
Stetson Bennett is older than:
– Jalen Hurts
– Justin Herbert
– Tua Tagovailoa
– Kyler Murray
– Sam Darnold
– Mac Jones
– Daniel Jones
– Justin Fields pic.twitter.com/FnOJTsxcef
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) January 10, 2023
Bennett has poise in the pocket as he is unphased by pressure in his face. He demonstrated that poise with the help of his offensive line led by his blindside protector and Top-25 draft prospect, Broderick Jones. High football intelligence and understanding of defensive coverages. Very good anticipatory passer throwing it to where his receiver should be. Incredible work ethic and dedication to his craft as a passer – improved significantly as a pocket passer from 2021-2022 against one of the most difficult conferences in all of college football (SEC). Mobile with very good escapability. Accurate thrower on the move and from different platforms. Running is an added bonus to his passing prowess. Able to effectively convert firsts on QB sneaks.
Stetson Bennett was dropping DIMES at his Pro Day yesterday 😳
Bennett said in a recent interview that he feels he has “an extreme advantage” over other QB prospects by playing in a pro-style offense at Georgia.
Bennett is currently projected to be a late round selection. pic.twitter.com/YqCBqZMVZ1
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) March 16, 2023
However, Bennett possesses average-to-below average arm talent. Bennett would need more time to learn how to play with more consistent mechanics when operating from the pocket. Because of his height, he might not be able to play under center and do a three-step drop, see through 6-foot-5 offensive linemen and defenders getting their hands up. He needs to speed up his processing a little bit and that should come with time. Now without the Georgia OL, he will probably struggle seeing pressure. Sometimes Bennett would to try to do too much and that would lead to some bad turnovers.
Stetson Bennett showcasing his deep ball🎯🎯
— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 4, 2023
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 18, 2022
Kyler Murray is the most similar player to Bennett. However, I do not think that Bennett will end up being as good as Murray has been for Arizona. Bennett is taller, but Murray is more built to withstand the NFL punishment. They do have a similar style of play with an arm and mobility, and are gritty competitors.
Stetson Bennett heard the disrespect. pic.twitter.com/0F91rxfFHI
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 3, 2022
Aside from the size issues, Bennett would be a better version of what the Chiefs have currently in back-up quarterback Shane Buechele. Bennett would provide some very good competition between himself, Buechele and practice squad QB Chris Oladokun.
If taken by the Chiefs, Bennett could be a long term solution to backup Patrick Mahomes because he can win you games primarily with his ability to extend plays, mental processing to work through his progressions, and anticipation on his throws. Andy Reid’s QB friendly scheme along with the great talent in the pass and run game would help take pressure off Bennett.
Stetson Bennett's resume speaks for itself 😤
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) January 10, 2023
He may not be a Brady-like steal in the final rounds of the draft, but he has similar potential to Kyler Murray/Russell Wilson, and at the discounted rate of a fifth through seventh-round contract, he’d be potentially equipped with the surrounding weapons to bring the Chiefs to new heights and make a few general managers regret overlooking the prospect during the 2023 draft.
Check out more of Chiefs Fan 4 Lyfe’s work here, including a look at Matt Ryan as potential Chad Henne replacement, The Offensive Line Options in 2023 and Jordan Battle, my favorite safety in the 2023 class. You can follow me on Twitter.