Raiders second year running back, Taiwan Jones, seems to be the forgotten man around the team these days. The coaching staff doesn't seem to trust his skills at running back. Could it signal a position change?
Though Taiwan Jones has been absent from the running back depth chart for the Raiders, his real impact has been on special teams. His speed was what had him as one of Al Davis' final draft picks. That speed is on display as a gunner on special teams. But being a gunner is not just about speed. It's also about tackling in open space.
Jones' tackling ability doesn't come out of nowhere. Though he was known for his running back skills coming out of college, those skills were late in the game for the Speedy Deer Valley High product.
He played opposite corner to former Raider undrafted free agent, Sterling Moore at Deer Valley. That was where he played his best football.
"That's what I got my scholarship for in college was to play corner," said Taiwan Jones. "I played my first year at corner and I didn't switch until we had four senior running backs graduating, that's when they asked me change over. Coming into the combine, I actually thought I was gonna get looked at more at corner than running back but the majority liked what I can do at running back. Due to my foot injury I was only limited to work at one position and running back was what I came out as obviously."
The Raiders will be taking a hard look at this team the final three games of this season and that will continue in the offseason. Obviously they don't like him as a running back at the moment. But if he could show some potential this offseason at corner, it could be his ticket to remaining a part of the team he grew up a fan of.
The idea has crossed his mind and he has confidence he could make the switch.
"Yeah, I've thought about it a lot. Really, I just love playing football. If they need me to play defense, I think I'd be pretty happy with that."
And when asked if he could hang as an NFL cornerback, he didn't hesitate in his response; "Yeah, most definitely."
The Raiders could certainly use an undiscovered gem at the cornerback position. While they are stacked with running backs, they are lacking depth in the secondary. Jones has the speed and tackling ability and as a running back he has shown the ability to haul in a pass when needed.