Raiders RB Taiwan Jones shifting to cornerback in 2013
After spending the past two seasons primarily as a running back with the Oakland Raiders, Taiwan Jones is shifting to full-time cornerback this offseason.
While it’s not entirely uncommon for players to make the transition to the other side of the ball when suddenly lacking depth at a certain position or for special packages, switching from running back to cornerback is still a drastic change for Taiwan Jones, which will likely lead to an uphill battle to make the final roster. The need for Taiwan Jones to move to a spot amongst the defensive backs initially arose due to ball security issues last season. Taiwan Jones carried the ball just six times in 2012, garnering 21 yards. According to Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride the Oakland Raiders coaching staff “had no faith in Jones' ball security or his ability to play in the team's zone blocking scheme.”
Taiwan Jones was primarily restricted to the special teams last season as he developed into one of Oakland Raiders’ op gunners and kickoff coverage men, though he did not handle the returning duties. Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie had always viewed Taiwan Jones as a cornerback option and had been waiting for the prime opportunity to push him into a role on the defense.
While the transition to cornerback may be a new NFL experience for Taiwan Jones, he’s previously played at the position during college. As a freshman at Eastern Washington, Taiwan Jones played at cornerback, before being moved to running back. For what it’s worth, Taiwan Jones seemed in good spirits about the move and
"It's coming along," said Taiwan Jones. "Today was the first day I was able to learn some things about myself. I started to get comfortable throughout the day but I definitely got a lot of work to do."
Monday’s OTA session was the first official time Taiwan Jones took reps at cornerback. However, Taiwan Jones still appeared to need time to get used to the routine and will have to put in a lot of work and effort to make the 53-man roster.