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Jakorian Bennett picks off Aidan O’Connell to open Raiders minicamp

The next phase of the Raiders offseason began today with the start of their three-day mandatory minicamp. These practices are designed to mimic the start of training camp in order to give the players a taste of what to expect when they return in five weeks to get ready for the season.

For that reason, these practices are the most important thus far this offseason.

One player who has been making a case to be a starter this season is second-year cornerback Jakorian Bennett. He’s been lining up with the ones all offseason and today, he showed everyone why.

One a play late in practice, he broke the ice with the first takeaway for the Raiders defense. Aidan O’Connell rolled left and threw it short where Bennett stepped in front of it and hauled it in.

O’Connell had been having a decent practice prior to that, including a perfect throw to the back left corner of the end zone for Jalen Guyton. But that one was one he would like to have back.

For Bennett’s part, he is in a competition with veteran former starter Brandon Facyson to be the starter opposite Jack Jones, with Nate Hobbs manning the nickel spot. That interception should go a long way to making Bennett’s case and for the former fourth round pick to show he is ready to get the starting job back that he lost four games into his rookie season.

Hobbs took issue with a question suggesting that Bennett’s issue to start last season was a lack of confidence.

“I don’t like when people say ‘he’s trying to get confident’,” Hobbs said. “He’s confident. You’re in the NFL for a reason. Whether it looks like you got beat on the play and your confidence is down, that’s how it looks to the outside world. I feel like he’s a confident young man and he brings it every day. Some people need a little bit to get started. And when he gets started, he’s a competitor. And so he’s confident to me.”

Three seasons ago, Hobbs was in the same situation as Bennett was last season. Both were mid-round draft picks who were starters right out the gates. But Hobbs had instant success. Bennett struggled early on and it was clear he needed a bit more time to find his footing in the NFL and in this defense.

Now heading into his second season in the NFL and in the same scheme, this is when the team expects him to be ready.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire