Can RB Jones make the switch to cornerback?

Can RB Jones make the switch to cornerback?
December 10, 2012, 3:15 pm
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Taiwan Jones didn't convert from cornerback to running back until college. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

One of the Raiders' many Achilles' heels all season has been the poor play in the secondary in general, at cornerback in particular.

Forgotten running back Taiwan Jones, who has seemingly not only had trouble holding onto the ball but retaining the playbook, is open to making a switch to the other side of the ball. The speedy Jones, after all, played cornerback in high school.

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

"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 him in 2011 and, while he was the second-string running back for much of training camp behind Darren McFadden and ahead of Mike Goodson, Jones has dealt with injury and lack of productivity to fall to fourth on the depth chart, behind undrafted rookie Jeremy Stewart.

He averaged 4.6 yards on 16 carries as a rookie but has just 21 yards on six carries this season.

Jones' work as a gunner on special teams has been a revelation, though. Enough to have him thinking about making a switch.

"Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot," Jones said. "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."

But does Jones think he could make the transition at this level?

"Yeah," he said, "most definitely."