The Raiders drafted Taiwan Jones in the fourth round of the 2011 draft because of his skills as a running back.
If he sticks beyond his third year with the team, it will likely be because he can play cornerback. Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie said that he wants Jones to make the move to defense next season, which tends to be the kind of desire that leads players to wind up playing defense next season.
“I’m pushing for cornerback,” McKenzie said, via Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. “I think it fits his skill set. I think we’re going to see how he does there.”
Jones arrived at Eastern Washington as a cornerback – McKenzie said that he actually had Jones projected there when he was evaluating the 2011 draft with the Packers – and said near the end of last season that he’d be open to moving to the other side of the line. He’s touched the ball 26 times on offense in his first two years on the team despite the need to replace Darren McFadden for chunks of each season. He’s also drawn criticism for not holding onto the ball.
He’s done well on special teams, though, and McKenzie thinks his speed and ability to tackle give him a shot to become a nickel cornerback. The Raiders could certainly use a good cornerback or three, so this is probably the wisest move for both sides.