Less than a week ago, it was reported that the Oakland Raiders were looking to convert their third-string running back Taiwan Jones into a cornerback.
“I’m pushing for cornerback,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “I think it fits his skill set. I think we’re going to see how he does there.”
The change seems rather odd, but I believe that it will work for a couple different reasons.
The Oakland Raiders may be a bad football team, but they still have some bright spots. One of those being their talent at the running back position.
It’s hard to argue that when healthy, Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson make a great 1-2 punch.
McFadden is as explosive as they come, and always strikes fear to the eyes of his opponents. Standing at 6’1″ and 218 pounds, his body frame is big enough to run through defenders. Young talent like McFadden is what gets the Raiders fans out of bed in the morning; it’s what Oakland relies on. When healthy, McFadden is hands down one of the five best running backs the NFL has to offer.
On another note, Mike Goodson will be entering his second season with the Oakland Raiders, and if he can stay healthy he will be a great option for a third-down running back. The 25-year old out of Texas A&M had some quality years with the Carolina Panthers, and I think right now, a back-up role is right for him. He just doesn’t seem ready to take on the majority of carries for a team, so he will benefit from playing behind a player like Darren McFadden while also making key contributions.
That said, the Raiders don’t really need Taiwan Jones at running back. They are content with McFadden and Goodson, and with their depth, they should continue to work with Jones on becoming a cornerback so that he can help out a struggling Oakland secondary.
Another reason why I believe the Raiders should go through with this change is because of their current position. They just finished the 2012-2013 season with a 4-12 record, and uncertainty is lying all over the organization.
They don’t know who their starting quarterback will be, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was recently arrested, and fans are still waiting to see if Dennis Allen is the right coach for this team.
Therefore, I think this is an easy decision for the Raiders. They already have two good running backs, but they only have one reliable cornerback.
Michael Huff is one of the best safeties in the league, and it was truly a shame to see the Raiders force him to play cornerback last year. It’s not his natural position by any means, but Oakland was desperate, as their cornerbacks were playing very poorly.
So if the Raiders fail to acquire/draft a worthy safety and Huff gets stuck again, whose name do the Raiders call?
Shawntae Spencer would be there, but he was injured much of last season and failed to reach the standards that the Raiders had for him. He is at most an above-average corner in today’s league.
So with such lack of depth and poor production in their secondary, the question becomes “Why not?” for the Oakland Raiders.
Taiwan Jones is a speedy player, and if taught well enough, I believe can make the transition from running back to cornerback. There is no harm in going through with the operation, as Jones likely wouldn’t be back with the team if he stays at running back, so he will be working his butt off to make a good impression to Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders organization to keep a spot on the final 53-man roster.