Georgia connection could be simplest Ravens Lamar Jackson replacement

Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens could draft former Georgia star Stetson Bennett IV, regardless of if they lose Lamar Jackson in his free agency or not.

As soon as the Baltimore Ravens hired former Todd Monken away from Georgia to run their offense, the Stetson Bennett IV draft rumors to the Charm City went up exponentially overnight.

Baltimore still has to sort out what it wants to do with its free-agent quarterback, Lamar Jackson. The Ravens brass used the non-exclusive franchise tag on the 2019 NFL MVP as a means to have other teams negotiate with him and create a market, so maybe they could match it. Jackson might be traded, but not every team will want to give up a pair of first-round picks to acquire him either.

No matter what happens between the Ravens and Jackson, Bennett to Baltimore feels very right.

Stetson Bennett IV could conceivably replace Lamar Jackson on Baltimore Ravens

Look. Bennett’s my guy. He deserves a statue in Athens for his football services to my alma mater. His story is the college equivalent of Kurt Warner’s with the then-St. Louis Rams. Bennett is an incredibly polarizing player, and I totally understand that. However, he knows Monken’s offense like the back of his hand, and Baltimore, at the very least, could use a quality backup like himself.

Truthfully, it probably serves the Ravens to bring back restricted free agent quarterback Tyler Huntley no matter what. He has shown he can be a decent stop-gap starter at the game’s highest level. He was good at Utah, but nobody outside of Salt Lake saw this coming. If Jackson leaves, re-sign Huntley and draft Bennett. If Jackson stays, you could re-sign Huntley and still draft Bennett.

Even if his Dallas arrest hurt his draft stock to some degree, Bennett did way more good than bad for himself at last week’s NFL combine. He showed he could really spin it and demonstrated great downfield accuracy. We all know that he can run and he did not come in as short as people expect him to in the measurables. Bennett is probably a fourth-round pick and could make it into Day 2.

Although Bennett does not have the highest NFL ceiling, he is a savvy player and competitive as hell. He will make any quarterback room he joins better upon arrival. Bennett will never have the talent of Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, but the guy knows how to win and more importantly, to get buy-in from his teammates, pretty much all alpha males between the ages of 18 and 24-ish.

To be totally honest, Bennett has to go to the right franchise to have any staying power in the league. I’ve said he’d be a great candidate to back up Mahomes in Kansas City. They play similarly enough and Andy Reid is an offensive wizard at head coach. Although John Harbaugh cut his teeth with special teams, the Ravens are a well-run operation and Bennett mastered Monken’s system.

Ultimately, Bennett has removed all doubt that he is draftable. He is not for everyone, and that’s fine, but he would fit in pretty win in Baltimore, regardless of what the Ravens inevitably decide to do with Jackson. As long as he trusts Monken and plays his tail off for Harbaugh, then everyone will have buy-in. More importantly, they all know who he is from his days as a Georgia superstar.

It seems almost unfathomable that the Ravens could conceivably pass on Bennett seven times.

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