The NFL Combine wrapped up on Sunday. The quarterback position was of particular focus during the four-day event. Fifteen quarterbacks participated in various degrees over the week. Alabama’s Bryce Young and CJ Stroud are seen as the top two quarterbacks in the class. They are likely to go in the first five picks. From there we have increased uncertainty. Checking in on a handful of articles and podcasts from over the weekend, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson seem to be the “biggest winners” of the week. Draft boards have both quarterbacks going in the Top 10. While both quarterbacks are superb athletes, the results on the field don’t add up. It can leave many Georgia fans wondering about their quarterback, Stetson Bennett.
Before digging into the Mailman’s performance in Indianapolis, let’s take a look at how his SEC East Rivals wowed the competition.
Anthony Richardson’s Combine Recap
“The arc on his deep throws was majestic. His placement on outs and fades was not perfect, which matches his film, but Richardson put his alpha ability on display during the workout,” said NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter.
Richardson had arguably the best week of the 300 players that worked out and answered questions in Indianapolis. He checks all of the physical tools and measurables that NFL scouts, general managers, and fans drool over. Richardson is 6-4 and weighs 244 pounds. He had the fastest 4o-yard dash (4.43 seconds) and the highest vertical jump (40.50″) of all the quarterbacks that tested. He also set the record for quarterbacks with the longest broad jump (10’9″) in history. Some projections have Richardson going within the top 10 picks in the draft. While his measurables will never be questioned, Richardson’s play in his little over one year in Gainesville should raise some serious questions.
He had plenty of talent and has shown it in flashes. During the 2022 season, he led the Gators to a late comeback over Utah to start the season that had many calling Richardson for Heisman consideration. For his career, Richardson completed 55% of his passes, 36 total touchdowns (12 rushings, and 24 passing), and was only 8-10 as a starter. The stats that wowed us so much this week did not add up when you take a look at the game film and his on-field results.
Will Levis Combine Recap
“Levis is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the draft, but there are warts in his game that might not be easily corrected,” reported NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein. “His talent is well worth an investment but could require a talented quarterback coach and a patient plan to tighten up his mechanics, rebuild his confidence and explore an offensive scheme that best suits him.”
Levis has a similar build to Richardson, 6-3 and 232 pounds. While he did not run, he did have the second-best broad jump (10’4″) and the fifth-highest vertical jump (34″). Levis struggled through injuries and an inexperienced offensive line in 2022. Levis posted his best numbers under Liam Coen, who left to become the Chargers’ offensive coordinator. This might be the biggest asset for Levis going into the draft. Coen is part of Sean McVeigh’s coaching tree. With McVeigh’s disciples all over the NFL, Levis may look like a better fit with his background and playing in the offense.
Stetson Bennett Combine Recap
“Bennett doesn’t have a plus arm and his accuracy and placement can vary from drive to drive, but he throws with anticipation and has shown an ability to get through progressions as a pro-style passer,” Zielein wrote. “He’s rarely sacked and has the mobility to do damage outside of the pocket.”
Bennett is not going to win any World Strongest Man awards. Benett came into the draft at 5-11 and 192 pounds. He was near the bottom in the 40-yard dash (4.67), and middle-of-the-pack in the vertical jump (33.50″). But he posted the top shuttle time (4.20). Bennett had his biggest win by taking and responding to questions surrounding his public intoxication arrest in January following the national championship.
He owned his mistake and issued an apology to his teammates and family. “It was a mistake that everybody’s aware of. I’ve talked to coaches about it and talked to GMs. I’ve apologized to my family. That’s who I felt worse about; I felt like I let them down because no matter where I go now (people are going to know about it).” While some may not be satisfied with the response, it was a necessary step for Bennett as he moves forward in the draft process.
Bennett has never won by blowing away coaches with his size and measurables. He was a walk-on at Georgia. Kirby Smart brought in two quarterbacks from the transfer portal and started a true freshman before giving Stetson an opportunity in 2020. Bennett was born to prove people wrong. In his three years at Georgia, he was 29-3 as a starter, a Heisman finalist, led his team to one SEC Championship, its first national championship in 41 years, and a repeat title in 2022.
He will probably never be a starter in the NFL. In the best-case scenario, he is a career backup. Maybe he comes in and steals a few games like Brock Purdy did for the 49ers earlier this year. People can question Bennett’s age, measurables, and arm strength. His results cannot be questioned. When the lights shined their brightest, the Mailman delivered.
Photo courtesy: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports