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Raiders Mailbag: Taking a look at some young defenders 

Julian Castillo from California asks:

"What is the likelihood Jakorian Bennett earns a starting position this season as a rookie?"

It's impossible to guess the likelihood before Training Camp starts, but I believe he has as good of a shot as anyone.

Jakorian Bennett has looked impressive throughout rookie minicamp and OTAs, displaying speed and aggressiveness during team period and individual drills. He reminds me a lot of Nate Hobbs so far, who started at nickel cornerback his rookie season in 2021. The coaching staff and front office preaches it doesn't matter where you came from, but what you do once you get here – so Bennett should have every chance to win a starting job.

"I think watching Jakorian and spending time watching him in 2021 and then 2022, the one thing that we saw was just some growth and development as a as a defensive back, and specifically his ability," General Manager Dave Ziegler said after drafting Bennett. "He improved his ability to defend the football, especially making plays down the field which for a defensive back is one of the more difficult things where you're running and tracking vertical routes, your back is to the quarterback, being able to find and play the ball."

Scott Isaac from California asks:

"Outside of Spillane and Deablo, which linebacker do you see getting the most snaps?"

Luke Masterson has a huge chance to solidify himself in the linebackers room.

After coming off a strong preseason, the undrafted free agent from Wake Forest made the 53-man roster. He spent several games in a special teams role before he stepped up as a starter in relief as injuries plagued the linebacking corps. In seven starts his rookie season, he had 59 total tackles, 16 defensive stops, four tackles for loss and one quarterback hit.

Another linebacker that could earn his keep in Training Camp is 2023 sixth-round pick Amari Burney. He made the transition from safety to linebacker at Florida and prospered his senior season at the new position with 79 total tackles, nine sacks and two interceptions. He brings the much needed ability of excelling in coverage to the linebacker room.

Jeremy Thornton from Iowa

"Do you think Tre'von Moehrig will have a better season in his second year in this defense?"

Tre’von Moehrig has already proved he can be a productive player in this league. His started every game his rookie season, including the wild card playoff game, totaling six pass deflections, an interception and a 77.7 pass coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. Those numbers slightly dipped last season, as the safety learned Patrick Graham's defense and dealt with injuries. Nevertheless, the former Jim Thorpe Award winner is still one of the most talented defensive backs on the roster and could benefit from playing alongside the newly signed Marcus Epps.

"He's a great teammate. We're just getting to learn each other, learning how each other plays," Moehrig said of Epps earlier this offseason. "The time we've been having together has been good. We've been bonding, we've been working hard. So, that's what we're going to keep doing.

"I've been feeling better, more confident just with myself within the defensive scheme. So, definitely trying to do that and get our hands on the football."

The Raiders hosted a Play Football Skills Camp at Intermountain Health Performance Center for youth athletes to participate in drills and receive coaching from defensive end Maxx Crosby, defensive end George Tarlas and the Green Valley High School football team.

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