Originally drafted as a speedy running back, Jones is making the transition to cornerback this season in hopes of solidifying his chances of making the Raiders’ 53-man roster. Despite the switch, it’s going to be tough for the Eastern Washington product to secure a roster spot.
Jones saw some snaps at cornerback at Eastern Washington, but hasn’t played the position since 2008. While his explosive speed and acceleration are a plus, the fact that Jones is so far removed from any defensive experience could prove too tall of a task to overcome.
The position switch came after Jones failed to dig himself out from the bottom of the running back depth chart in 2012. Even amongst a banged up backfield, the 2011 fourth-rounder couldn’t impress coaches enough to earn more carries than fullback Marcel Reese or undrafted runner Jeremy Stewart.
Throughout his two years and 22 appearances with the Raiders, Jones has amassed 94 rushing yards on 22 carries and caught four passes for 36 receiving yards. Meanwhile, he has also picked up 19 total tackles while serving as a special teams contributor.
Once training camp kicks off, Jones will be in competition with other Raiders cornerbacks such as Brandian Ross or Chimdi Chekwa, who are all on the roster bubble. The overwhelming odds have him falling short in that battle, but stranger things have happened in Oakland.
The Raiders and GM Reggie McKenzie are hoping this switch can salvage their investment in Jones. We’ll see during training camp if the former fourth-round pick can remember how to play cornerback in time to stick with Oakland.