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Film room: What can Jack Jones bring to Raiders?

CB played for Antonio Pierce in HS and college

New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers
Jack Jones
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

When the New England Patriots waived cornerback Jack Jones earlier this week, it was just a matter of time before he was claimed by the Las Vegas Raiders.

The connection between Jones and the Raiders’ interim head coach Antonio Pierce is strong as Pierce coached the defensive back in high school at Long Beach Poly and in college at Arizona State. Plus, the 2022 fourth-round pick had a strong rookie season a year ago.

Jones was a rotational player in New England last year, making just a couple of starts but participating in 13 games and logging about 450 defensive snaps. He ended up earning a 74.7 overall PFF grade in 2022 and really stood out in zone coverage with a 76.4 PFF coverage grade on such play calls. At a high level, that should make him a scheme fit in Las Vegas as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has leaned heavily on zone coverages this season.

Between injuries and off-the-field issues, Jones hasn’t received much playing time this year as he presumptively fell out of favor with New England’s coaching staff. But he gets a fresh start in Las Vegas where he’ll likely play out the last two and half years of his rookie contract.

So, let’s take a look at one of his best games from 2022—Week 5 against the Detroit Lions—to get an idea of what Jones can bring to the Raiders.

This is a great rep from Jones as the Patriots are running Cover 4 and the Lions switch release the tight end and wide receiver on his side of the field. That tests the defensive back’s communication as the corner has to pass off the receiver to the safety and pick up the tight end who is streaking down the sideline.

Jones recognizes the release and does a good job of baiting quarterback Jared Goff into throwing to the tight end by sticking with the receiver for a couple of steps before passing the receiver off. That makes Goff think the tight end is going to be open for a touchdown, but Jones flips his hips, breaks on the route and high-points the ball in the air to come down with the pick. He gets bonus points for the sideline awareness and toe-drag swag, too.

We’ll get a different look from Jones here as he’s in press coverage over a slot receiver. He does a good job getting his hands on the receiver to disrupt the timing of the route and help stay in phase as he transitions to play from a trail position. From there, he’s able to stay in the receiver’s hip pocket the entire rep and Goff has little to no room to complete this pass, especially with the timing being thrown off and the pass rush starting to hit home.

Here’s a similar rep, only Jones is playing off the line of scrimmage this time. Again, he uses his hands well to help stay in phase while playing from a trail position. He also uses the back of the endzone to help cover the receiver by sandwiching the wideout between himself and the back line. Additionally, Jones turns to locate the ball in the air and gets vertical to high-point the ball, making the catch even more difficult.

All of that results in an incompletion and keeps the offense off the board.

Our last clip will be a nice pass breakup from Jones.

It’s late in the game and New England is up big so the corner’s primary concern is keeping Detroit out of the endzone. He lines up in off-coverage and backpedals post-snap to make sure the receiver stays in front of him.

He does a great job of keeping his hips square until the wideout breaks and that’s where Jones’ athleticism comes in as he’s able to open his hips and drive on the route to close on his man. There’s no separation on the route and Jones high-points the ball again to try and get another pick on the overthrow. While he doesn’t come down with the interception, we’ll take a PBU to force a second-and-10 situation.

Also, this is a great job of taking away an in-breaking route with no safety help in the middle of the field which is hard to do.