Jones entered the NFL as a running back as a fourth-round pick out of Eastern Washington in 2011. But the Raiders moved him to cornerback last season and in his third season, he has only 23 career carries, just seven since his rookie year.
His lone carry this season was on a fake punt. He gained 19 yards on a fake punt in the second quarter of Oakland’s Week 4 loss to the Washington Redskins to temporarily keep a drive alive, but it ended in a punt.
The Washington game, remember, is also remembered as Matt Flynn’s Oakland Raider career—the only start he made after he was acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason and before he was released.
Jones was an AP Football Championship Subdivision First-Team All-America as a running back at Eastern Washington as a junior, his final year with the Eagles before opting to enter the draft and was a two-time All-Big Sky Conference first-team selection. His 1,742 rushing yards in 2010 are the third-most in a single season in Eastern Washington history and his 145.2 yards per game that season rank second. His 96-yard touchdown run against Idaho State on Oct. 3, 2009, is the longest run in school history, as well.
Jones also rushed for 1,253 yards in nine starts as a sophomore in 2009.
When he did see some action at running back for the Raiders in 2011, he gained 73 yards on 16 carries, a 4.6-yard average, and had two catches for 25 yards. He gained 21 yards on six carries in 2012 before being moved to the defensive backfield.
He’s mostly played on special teams for Oakland, including averaging 24.6 yards on 16 kickoff returns this season. That average is 13th-best in the NFL among qualified returners (average of one return per team game).
It’s good to have a versatile player that can be used in different ways … but the Raiders have only two running backs on the active roster—Jennings, McFadden—along with three fullbacks, Marcel Reece, Jeremy Stewart and Jamize Olawale.
So here’s to hoping Jennings is cleared to go Sunday against the Jets.