Jones saw switch to CB coming

Jones saw switch to CB coming
February 23, 2013, 10:00 am

The news coming out of the Combine Friday that Taiwan Jones would be making the switch from running back to cornerback for the Raiders should come as little surprise.

Jones himself suggested the move back in early December.

"That’s what I got my scholarship for in college, was to play corner," Jones, who played at Eastern Washington, said at the time.

"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 used a fourth-round draft pick on Jones in the 2011 draft, but to be fair, it was Oakland's old regime that saw him as a speedster coming out of the offensive backfield. Jones averaged 4.6 yards on 16 carries as a rookie and was the second-string running back behind Darren McFadden during most of training camp in 2012.

But along the way, ball security issues and his ability to retain the playbook betrayed him and he became a forgotten man on offense, falling behind not only veteran Mike Goodson but also undrafted rookie Jeremy Stewart. Jones did find quality work as a gunner on special teams but again, that's not what he was drafted to do, and remember, because the new regime of general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen inherited Jones, you could not fault them for not having a deep sense of loyalty to him.

The 6-foot, 197-pound Jones finished 2012 with 21 rushing yards on six carries. But he is a burner, having run the 40 in as fast as 4.28 seconds.

"I think he's got a unique skill set with his speed and athleticism," Allen said Friday in Indianapolis. "And when you look at where he really excelled on special teams, it was out on the edge in that 'gunner' or 'jammer' mode. He's played the position."

It's also interesting to note that recent pictures Tweeted out by Terrelle Pryor have Jones working out at the Raiders' Alameda facility with the backup quarterback, along with receiver Jacoby Ford, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and punter Marquette King.

The position switch might just give Jones' NFL career a boost. Which is something he eluded to a few months back.

"Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot," Jones said in December. "Really, I just love playing football. If they need me to play defense, I think I’d be pretty happy with that.

"I really don’t know until that happens. Just going out there at 'jammer,' and I feel pretty comfortable, it’s hard sometimes but that’s with any position. Until that time comes, I can’t really answer that question."

The questions will be coming soon. But will Jones have the answers?