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Jakorian Bennett focused on doing everything to be 'the best version of myself'

To seal the deal for the National Team in the Reese's Senior Bowl back in February, Maryland cornerback Jakorian Bennett came down with an interception with 42 seconds remaining, preserving the 27-10 victory.

The interception, along with the week of practices, was significant for Bennett, who was able to show out for his friends and family in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He also caught the attention of Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who served as the National Team's head coach in the collegiate showcase.

"I really liked his energy," Bennett said of Graham. "We just embraced what he was saying, knowing he's coached at a high level for a long time. I just wanted to go out there and be a dog, be the best version of myself and showcase my skills."

"He was really just telling us to always trust our technique," continued Bennett. "Playing with feet first, being technically sound. So hearing that from him, especially from a high level coach like that, I made sure I honed those little details and really executed my game. He was definitely right there while we were doing individual drills, he'd always be watching us and giving us little pointers."

Bennett's four tackles, tackle for loss and interception at the Senior Bowl helped build his case to be selected him by the Raiders with the 104th pick on Day 3. The defensive back also gives the Silver and Black a reason to be optimistic with his college production.

Bennett didn't have an easy route to the NFL, almost giving up playing football in high school, with no college offers. After spending some time playing at Hutchinson Community College, he transferred to Maryland, where he had 24 pass deflections and five interceptions in his three seasons as a Terrapin. Additionally, he didn't allow a touchdown in coverage in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus.

"I only started one year in high school. I had to go JUCO, going to Maryland – it's been a lot of ups and downs through this journey but it made me the person I am today," he told the local media. "That's why I go into each day with that all-in mentality. Just make sure I check every box, making sure I do everything in my power to be the best version of myself."

He also had an amazing NFL Combine showing in Indianapolis, running a 4.3 40-yard dash – the second fastest of all cornerbacks at the event. He continued to boast his athleticism with a 40.5'-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-1 broad jump, both ranked in the top four of all cornerbacks.

Another thing he's elated about is becoming teammates with Maxx Crosby, who he labeled as "one of the best pass rushers in this game." Like everything else for Bennett to this point, nothing will be given to him, but will have to be earned once he arrives to Las Vegas.

"I'm kind of speechless right now because everything just happened, but I'm ready man. I'm excited and I'm happy to be a Raider."

With the 104th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected cornerback Jakorian Bennett.

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