In the front corner of a ballroom inside the Indiana Convention Center, sitting at a round table that reporters bypassed on their way to better-known players set up at makeshift podiums, Kurt Benkert explained why he shouldn’t be overlooked. His pitch was difficult to hear. Twenty feet away, Sam Darnold’s voice boomed through speakers, drowning out Benkert. A throng several people deep surrounded Podium 1 as the USC quarterback, in the running to be the draft’s No. 1 overall pick this spring, held court at the NFL scouting combine. Benkert, a senior quarterback at Virginia, is just hoping to be drafted. “I can make a lot of throws on the run really consistently,” Benkert said. “And I think I’m creative with my feet, buying time and letting things develop longer downfield. I think that’s something I do really well, and it’s part of my game that I kind of lean on.” Indeed, Benkert said he spent much of last offseason studying Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He appreciates how the two-time MVP extends plays outside the pocket, escaping to give receivers more time to find openings. “Aaron is just special,” Benkert said. With good size at 6-2⅝, 218 pounds and a powerful arm to match, Benkert also could become special. He has been too inconsistent to be an early-round draft pick. Benkert knows he’ll need time and polish in the NFL. Perhaps he’ll get an opportunity to learn behind Rodgers.
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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Mar 3