When the Raiders drafted Jacoby Ford it came as no surprise. You don’t post the fastest 40 at the combine and slip by Al Davis. What was a surprise was the multitude of ways in which Ford contributed as a rookie.
Most saw Ford as kick returner who happened to play wide receiver. What Hue Jackson saw was a wide receiver that could feature as a multipurpose weapon.
As expected Ford burst onto the scene on special teams but turned heads as a playmaking receiver. By the end of his rookie season Ford had scored in most every fashion possible from kick returns to receiving to reverses. He officially announced himself as a player that opposing teams could not ignore while helping the Raiders to regain respectability.
Could lightning strike twice?
When you see what Taiwan Jones brings to the table you can’t help but think the Raiders have unearthed yet another gem in the 4th round of the draft.
Much like Ford most expect Jones to make an initial impact on special teams. With the likes of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush ahead of him on the depth chart Jones will find it next to impossible to crack the rotation. But that doesn’t mean Coach Jackson doesn’t have other designs on putting Taiwan’s talents to use.
I could easily see Jones being utilized in a variety of ways much like Ford. Sure, he’ll be one of the first to get a look in the return game but his shiftiness in the open field will be deadly on bubble screens and reverses.
Since Taiwan has true Raider speed you’d better believe Mr. Davis will be hovering over Hue’s shoulder eager to see how he puts his new toy to use. Jones and Ford could become the most deadly duo to hit the Bay since BALCO and Bonds. Between the two there is limitless potential for all the ways in which the offense can lineup and attack. Not to mention the added threat of Jason Campbell’s sick play fakes.
Just imagine Ford out wide with Jones as the lone back on a third and short situation. JC takes the snap, fakes to Jones while Ford comes sprinting across to take the ball from Campbell and scampers up field. Half the D will be diving on Jones thinking he’s got the rock while the rest will be conducting a futile pursuit of Ford.
I’m sure Coach Jackson will be much more creative but you get the idea – speed kills.
There’s no telling how Taiwan Jones will adapt to the NFL but he’s in the best situation possible. There is no pressure on the rookie to be an immediate contributor. Instead he’ll have the luxury of learning on the job while getting the occasional touch in special packages. And who knows, by the season’s end Jones could pull a Ford a show he’s a playmaker capable of being on the field in any situation.