Young Raiders CB earning starting reps after getting benched last season

The Las Vegas Raiders may not need to sign another cornerback if this 2023 draft pick continues to step up.
Las Vegas Raiders CB Jakorian Bennett.
Las Vegas Raiders CB Jakorian Bennett. / Harry How/GettyImages

Jakorian Bennett was one of the most exciting players to emerge out of last year's training camp. The speedy fourth-round pick cornerback impressed the Raiders enough to earn a Week 1 starting spot as a rookie.

However, it didn't take long for him to find his way to the bench. Injuries and poor play led to him playing just 38% of defensive snaps last season. Despite the rocky rookie season, the Raiders haven't given up on Bennett yet. According to a recent mailbag from Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Bennett has been getting the majority of first-team reps in practice.

This also comes at a time when Tashan Reed of The Athletic reported that the Raiders don't plan to use their salary cap space to add a veteran cornerback. This would be a very good indication that the Raiders are high on Bennett's potential as a starter. Cornerbacks coach Ricky Manning Jr. recently spoke highly of Bennett.

"I think the most important thing for him now is he's not under fire," Manning said of Bennett recently during a press conference. "Being a rookie, you're thrown out there - I've been in that same situation - you're under fire, and you're still learning as you're going. Now, he has a way higher understanding of the defense, of Coach Graham, how he calls it, and of the game. So, it's a little bit slowed down for him, so now, he can really work on that development, he can really get better on the things he needs to focus on.

"And he's doing that. He's continuing to work. Is he ready? Heck yeah. We still got time to go, though. We still got time to prepare, and every day, we're trying to get better. Each and every guy in that room, no matter where they're at. And he's a part of that, too."

Bennett developing into a dependable starter would be massive for the Raiders, Jack Jones appears to have one of the starting cornerback spots locked down and he's just 26. That's not to mention nickel cornerback Nate Hobbs is 24. Having three starting cornerbacks under the age of 27 would be really exciting for the Raiders.

Jones and Hobbs have proven they can play but Bennett still needs to step up on Sundays. If he does, the Raiders should be doing cartwheels because they could have a very good trio of young cornerbacks.