There is versatile, and there is the type of rare player that Jackson Bennett is. In college he saw time at linebacker, cornerback, safety and running back, as well as special teams on kick and punt returns as well as coverage units…In short if he is asked to do it, he will.
Bennett is a 5’10 212 lb athlete, undersized to play linebacker at the CFL level. Due to this he was drafted 11th overall in 2018 to play defensive back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Despite being listed as a DB, he was still used as a coverage linebacker in his first start for Hamilton ultimately playing in 11 games, most of which came on special teams. He collected 3 defensive tackles and 1 sack, as well as 8 special teams tackles. He also added 7 kick returns for 155 yards or a little over 22 yards per return.
In 2019 he was moved to offense as a running back. He still managed to rack up 1 tackle defensive tackle, 9 special teams tackles, and 1 forced fumble. He was no longer used as the return man, but saw time on offense, collecting 29 carries for 147 yards and 1 td averaging 5.2 yards per carry, while adding 8 catches on 10 targets for 72 yards. He played in 16 games proving his value as a depth piece on offense and defense while also showing worth on special teams as well.
He remained with Hamilton after the 2020 shutdown returning in 2021 again primarily as a running back. This time he appeared in 13 games, but didn’t end up playing on defense at all this time around. He would collect a career low 3 tackles, catching 5 of 6 targets for 30 yards, as well as 17 carries for 42 yards or 4.2 yards per carry.
As of right now there is no official word about which position he will focus on in Ottawa but it wouldn’t shock me if he sticks at running back knowing they will be leaning on a 33 year old William Powell as the bellcow with both Timothy Flanders and Anthony Coombs slated to hit free agency. It’s possible that Ottawa brings one of both back, but I still expect Bennett will be primarily playing running back after two decent seasons as a 3rd option for Hamilton.
One thing you can count on, Bennett will be ready to do whatever the coaching staff asks to help his new team win, even if it means playing all 3 phases of the game in 2022. I’m excited to see how the coaching staff will use him in 2022. The 26 year old athlete should have no issue finding an immediate role.
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