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Raiders training camp: Confidence is key for Jakorian Bennett

Rookie cornerback is enjoying strong training camp

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice
Jakorian Bennett (4) at the Senior Bowl
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

flOne of the standouts of the Las Vegas Raiders training camp so far has been rookie cornerback Jakorian Bennett.

The fourth-round pick from Maryland has often flashed in practices and appears to have a chance to have a major role in the cornerback rotation in the regular season. This training camp has been a continuation of a journey that Bennett has seen improved confidence as he started just one year in high school and started college at the junior college level.

“Confidence has gotten way better, but that’s a daily thing just kind of staying on top of that, because your brain is just a muscle just like everything else,” Bennett said this week after a training camp practice. “You lift weights, so you’ve got to continue to keep your mental up as well through this long season. But yeah, confidence has been getting better, and I’m just trying to get better overall.”

As the Raiders prepare to begin the preseason (they host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT), Bennett has been enjoying the process of his first NFL camp.

“It’s been great. I’m just really out there just trying to learn so I can better myself, so I can just help the team win games,” Bennett said. “But just kind of good to be out there with people like Maxx [Crosby], MP [Marcus Peters], [Divine] Deablo, just all those guys, just kind of look up to them, see their routine, how they kind of maintain their bodies, talking with the safeties to try to learn the defense. But overall though it’s been good.”

Bennett has spent a lot of time at practice, picking the brains of some of the team’s veteran leaders, including cornerback Marcus Peters and wide receiver Davante Adams. Thus, Bennett is definitely not shy about trying to improve his game.

“Someone told me, ‘a dumb question is a question never asked.’ So, I just like to ask questions because Davante [Adams] is arguably one of the best receivers, so I just try to get his knowledge,” Bennett said. “Like, what kind of gives him trouble, what can I do to kind of elevate my game. And then with MP [Marcus Peters], he’s a ball hawk. I think he has like 32 career interceptions. So, I just try to pick his brain to see how I can kind of slow the game down and just try to make plays like how he did. I love asking questions. I try not to ask too many questions though, but they have open ears and they’re willing to answer any question.”

While Bennett is getting early rave reviews from teammates and media members, He is not getting caught up in it. He’s all in football mode.

“No, I don’t really be on social media that much, especially during camp,’ he said. “They keep the rookies so long, so I barely look at my phone. But I guess it’s good, whatever, but I’m just trying to get better. It really starts during these preseason games and in the regular season is when it really matters. So, each and every day, I’m just going to try to get better.”

The plan seems to be working.