Bryan Bennett demonstrates good throwing ability on the move when firing into the short area and knows how to use his feet to step up in the pocket and buy time. He is a strong runner past the line of scrimmage and can gain valid yardage after breaking arm tackles.
The senior generally shows good judgment with the ball, but even though he is cool under pressure, most of his interceptions have come when forcing the ball into a crowd. He is quick to locate his receivers and knows when to tuck the ball and run with it. He sets the protections and keeps his focus down field, appearing to be capable of handling the mental aspect of the game.
Bennett has the long legs to take big strides driving back from center to his throwing point. He maintains balance in his pass drops and has shown improvement stepping into his throws. He needs to be more conscious of carrying the ball chest-high, but he does a good job of keeping his attention down field, resulting in a decent amount of his short area passes getting completed.
The Lions passer is not the type that will force the ball often, but will fire into a crowd when throwing under pressure. He is efficient at knowing when to tuck the ball and run with it when his receivers are covered and has shown improvement in knowing when to throw the ball away, but sometimes gets too patient in the pocket and waits to long for the play to develop, resulting in costly sacks, as he sometimes takes chances he shouldn’t due to his confidence level.
Bennett has better accuracy throwing on the move in the short area than when attacking the deep zones, but he is a valid threat to tuck the ball and run with it, forcing the defense to account for him on every play. He can make good plays with his feet, but he needs to step up in the pocket more than bolt. With his strong legs and impressive speed, he can take the ball to the house when given a clear lane and also has the power to break arm tackles.
Bennett is effective at hitting his receivers in stride and shows good touch in the short areas. When given time in the pocket, he can lead his receivers to the ball better and generate good placement. His passes come out with a tighter spiral on short throws than when trying to air it out, though, and he needs to take bit off those tosses so his receivers do not have to adjust so much.
Bennett has more than enough arm strength to get the ball into the seam, and loves to challenge secondaries from a vertical passing attack, as he has the ability to hit his targets away from the defender and over the outside shoulder when throwing from the outside hash. He’s one cool character who has ice water running through his veins. He doesn’t panic under pressure, as he is confident that if his receivers fail to get open, that he has the running skills to make things happen with his feet.
Bennett has the field vision and patience to make all his route progression reads. When he shows patience to allow his receivers to uncover, he gets into a nice rhythm of completing passes (in 2014, his receivers dropped 32 of his pass attempts, so his .4948 pass completion percentage should not be a reflection of his deficiencies. In 2013, with a more veteran-like receiving unit, he connected on 60.73% of his throws).
If a team will not get “hung up” on his so-so passing statistics in 2014, they will find that Bennett is a quarterback with a lot of upside, both with his physical tools and his frame. He’s a pretty savvy signal-caller that shows good fundamentals. He demonstrates sound footwork dropping back and gets set quickly. He moves well enough to get outside the pocket and does a decent job of squaring shoulders to the line of scrimmage when throwing on the run.
The thing I like is that Bennett is quick enough to buy time in the pocket. He stays poised, goes though progressions and generally takes what the defense gives him when he gets time. He puts good touch on passes, is accurate when sets his feet and can lead receivers when throwing underneath. He shows adequate pocket presence, does a nice job of stepping up when he feels pressure coming off the edge and flashes the willingness to throw the ball away to avoid the sack.
While Bennett’s arm strength is good, it is not elite, but his release quickness is smooth and he gets rid of the ball on time and with good zip, especially when executing on underneath-to-intermediate routes. He needs to add strength and bulk to aid in durability and overall presence, but he’s the type of player that grows on you the more you watch him and while he may not possess elite overall tools to wow you at this stage, he has the makings of a quality player down the road and his best football is definitely ahead of him.
Bryan Bennett NFL Scouting Combine measurable
6-2/211 (4.81 forty)
31-inch arm length
9 1/2-inch hands
37-inch vertical jump
125-inch broad jump
7.13 3 cone drill
4.20 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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