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MOBILE, Alabama – Stetson Bennett could be waking up here Tuesday morning and the rest of the week after a good night’s sleep.
Then, the former Georgia quarterback could be showing how he won national championships the last two seasons with his arm and feet to the throngs of NFL coaches, general managers, personnel directors and scouts at the Senior Bowl’s late-morning and mid-afternoon practices.
Senior Bowl Is Draft Central
In the afternoon and through the night, Bennett could be talking about it all in dozens of interviews with NFL brass throughout the spacious Renaissance Riverview Plaza downtown. The premier prelude to the NFL Draft and granddaddy of all college all-star games played in Mobile for the last 73 years, the Senior Bowl kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network. Bennett could wake up one more Saturday morning as a college football player.
BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE SENIOR BOWL
And there’s a bar and cigars available across the street from the hotel. Not to mention, there is no curfew at the Senior Bowl if he wanted to exhale a little steam. But Bennett probably would have been too tired to stay out too late – or too early. If so, hotel staff could have probably helped him find his room.
“Knock on wood, we’ve never had a single issue in my four years here,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy told OutKick Monday night at the Meet The Players gala at the Renaissance Battle House hotel. That’s just a few doors down from the Riverview Plaza.
“No curfews,” Nagy said. “We keep them too busy.”
If Stetson Bennett’s At The Senior Bowl, No Arrest?
Bennett, 25, was arrested on misdemeanor public intoxication at approximately 6 a.m. Sunday in Dallas. Police said he had been banging on various residential doors, struggling to find his friend’s apartment. He was released from a detention center later Sunday.
Ill-advised by his agent or just a bad read on his part, Stetson Bennett said no to the Senior Bowl last week and opted to work out in the Dallas area to prepare for the NFL Draft on April 27-29. Problem is, it seems like his new life coach may be Johnny Manziel.
“We talked to Stetson’s people,” Nagy said. “They were not interested.”
Since Nagy became Senior Bowl director in 2018, Bennett is the first non-injured quarterback to turn the Senior Bowl down … other than Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. Those two were presumptive first overall picks for the 2020 and ’21 drafts, and each went first.
QUARTERBACKS HENDON HOOKER, MAX DUGGAN SAID YES TO SENIOR BOWL
Bennett, who is just six feet tall and 190 pounds without a strong arm, is slotted as a fifth, sixth or seventh round pick in three months.
“So, it’s surprising when he turns you down,” Nagy said. “Absolutely, he would’ve helped himself. This game makes sense for 99 percent of the guys expected to get drafted, especially late round picks.”
Late round presumptive picks like quarterback Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles to be specific. Hurts will start in the Super Bowl a week from Sunday against Kansas City.
Jalen Hurts Embraced The Senior Bowl
Hurts came to the 2020 Senior Bowl with a similar draft tag as Stetson Bennett. He also had a national championship from Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma. Like Bennett, Hurts was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Like Bennett, NFL brass viewed Hurts as a backup at best.
“We had him in the fourth round,” Nagy, an NFL scout for 20 years before coming to the Senior Bowl in 2018, said. “Everybody in the league had him in the fourth or fifth. We didn’t talk to one team that year that even had Jalen in the third round.”
The Eagles took Hurts in the second round with the 53rd overall pick. He became their starter over veteran Carson Wentz late in his rookie season in 2020 and has been the starter the last two seasons. Hurts finished fifth in the NFL in quarterback rating in the 2022 regular season at 101.6, completing 306 of 460 passes for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns against six interceptions. He also rushed for 760 yards and led all quarterbacks with 13 rushing touchdowns.
What happened? The Senior Bowl, Stetson.
Hurts improved his draft stock dramatically because of how he practiced and interviewed during Senior Bowl week.
The Week That Changed Jalen Hurts’ Life
“It was the whole week,” Nagy said. “That’s what it is for all these guys. On the field matters, but off the field matters, too. The teams pay attention to how the players react to other players. You’ve got three or four quarterbacks on a team, and inevitably by the end of the week, the players are gravitating to one of them. And that year, it was Jalen. If you’ve been around Jalen, you can feel the guy’s intensity. It emanates from him. And I think the players fed off that.”
Still, Hurts had his doubters when he went in the second round.
“A lot of people thought he was over-drafted,” Nagy said. “We could all go back on social media and find some of the freezing cold takes on Jalen’s draft status. He proved a lot of people wrong. He’s a good lesson for any scout, and I’m a scout at heart. You can’t ever put a ceiling on a guy that is that competitive and that hard of a worker. Everyone said Jalen would just be a really good backup. And he’s blown that away.”
Hurts left Alabama for Oklahoma after becoming a backup to Tua Tagovailoa. Now, he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.
“He’s playing like a franchise quarterback,” Nagy said. “Who would’ve thought?”
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Overhyped, over valued. Dude won’t be in the NFL for long if at all. He’s not talented, period.
Baker Mayfield 2.0