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Raiders cornerback Jakorian Bennett continues to take steps in right direction

Wed May 05, 2024, 7:12pm

Now-former Maryland defensive back Jakorian Bennett wasn’t the corner who fans expected the Las Vegas Raiders to select in the 2023 NFL Draft, but that’s what happened anyway. Now, it’s Bennett’s time to show Raider Nation exactly what he can do.

Deonte Banks set things off for the Terrapins in the 2023 NFL Draft when the New York Giants spent their 24th-overall pick to add him to their roster. Later, in the fourth round, Las Vegas turned in their card to select Deonte Bank’s partner in crime in the Maryland secondary, Jakorian Bennett.

The similarities between the two Maryland corners were astonishing, much more-so when comparing Banks’ first-round draft position to Bennett’s in the fourth. Bennett posted a 4.30 40-time while Banks ran a 4.35. Bennett’s arm length measured 31 7/8 while Banks’ arms measured 31 3/8. The duo’s college numbers were comparable – better for Bennett, even – with Jakorian notching five college interceptions while Banks totaled only two.

But, there are some things you just can’t teach. Right at the top of the list of unteachable traits is height, where the 6′ 2 Banks stands tall in comparison to his 5′ 11 college counterpart – literally.

And now, with a full season of NFL action under his belt, the college days are ancient history for Jakorian Bennett.

Jakorian Bennett and the Las Vegas Raiders

There’s no shortage of things for Raider Nation to get excited about when it comes to Jakorian Bennett. The 23-year-old possesses incredible speed, and more than that, he knows exactly how to utilize it. Bennett is able to stop on a dime and quickly change directions, giving him an exceptional ability to quickly recover when out of position. This has greatly contributed to his above-average ball skills; the same ball skills that are yet another reason for fans to be excited.

However, Bennett wasn’t able to put it together in his rookie campaign.

Bennett’s 2023 coverage grade was 41.1, which ranked fifth-lowest among all cornerbacks in the National Football League who totaled at least 200 coverage snaps. The first year Raider allowed a completion percentage of 65.6% when targeted alongside an opposing quarterback rating of 102.3. The ball skills weren’t on display much as only 9% of passes Bennett’s way were broken up. Add four penalties committed, and Jakorian’s rookie season couldn’t have been much more disappointing.

But there’s still hope – after all, last season was only Jakorian Bennett’s first season as a pro athlete.

The Raiders have always believed in Bennett’s abilities, which is the exact reason he landed in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s lap. And even though his rookie season was forgettable, Graham is loving what he’s seen from the Maryland alum this offseason.

After the second day of OTAs, Graham gave the media an update on the corner entering his sophomore year in Las Vegas.

“What I’ve seen is the film study, I’ve seen him ask the right questions, I’ve seen him narrow down what his focus is by stage. Phase 1.. phase 2.. phase 3.. and being able to really zero in on that so he can improve his craft and lead him into training camp.”

Don’t get caught up in Bennett’s rookie woes

Not even Patrick Graham is the least concerned with how Jakorian Bennett’s rookie campaign went down. The Raiders defensive coordinator broke it down perfectly.

“Part of it is just getting the reps. You got to see it,” Graham said in response to Bennett’s rookie woes. “You have these dreams of being in the NFL. You play high school ball, play college ball. Then you get here and you just realize it’s a different game. It just is,” Graham continued.

“There’s still tackling, blocking, all that stuff. But it’s a different game, and seeing the route combinations.. understanding that they’re going to try to isolate you for the run game.”

Needless to say, Graham is right on the money. The transition period from college to the NFL is just that – a transition period. It’s the time to make mistakes, to learn what you can and can’t get away with. Understand what you need to improve on and adapt accordingly. That’s what a rookie season is.

What matters most is identifying how you must adjust; what area you must improve in or what you must do differently. And, the great news is, Jakorian Bennett is doing exactly that.

Bennett has all the tools to be a starting-caliber cornerback at the pro level. Now, it’s up to him to put the pieces together.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

The post Raiders cornerback Jakorian Bennett continues to take steps in right direction appeared first on The Raider Ramble.

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