The Las Vegas Raiders are now getting pretty deep into training camp and should start getting a better idea of certain improvements they could make on the roster. It appears that Jon Gruden could be wanting to bring in some depth at the quarterback position. According to NFL Draft Diamonds and confirmed by Raiders insider Vincent Bonsignore, the team is working out former Ohio State star quarterback Cardale Jones.
— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) August 20, 2020
Can confirm that former Ohio State QB Cardale Jones is among the players the @Raiders will take a look at over the next couple of days.
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) August 21, 2020
For those who don’t remember, Jones was thrust into a starting role at Ohio State late in the season and led them to a National Championship. He became a hot property after that but couldn’t even hold onto the starting job for the Buckeyes. His raw talent led to him getting drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He bounced around the NFL quite a bit but never started a game.
Could Jones Bring Anything to the Raiders?
Jones couldn’t cut it in the NFL so he eventually made his way to the XFL. He started five games for the DC Defenders and threw four touchdowns to seven interceptions. He’s very different than the current brass of Raiders quarterbacks. He’s slow and not a threat to run but has a cannon of an arm. Jones is somewhat reminiscent of JaMarcus Russell in terms of size and arm strength.
This late into his career, Jones is what he is. He’s not about to recapture the magic that made him a champion. However, he does have considerable arm talent. Jon Gruden loves to try and fix quarterbacks and interestingly enough, the coach’s thoughts on Jones are very public.
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Jones Was on Gruden’s QB Camp in 2016
One of the nice things about Gruden having a stint in the media is that we have his unique insight on a number of players. In a piece that he wrote for ESPN in 2016, the coach had a chance to outline what he thought of Jones:
Jones has one of the strongest arms we’ve ever had come through QB Camp. The “12 Gauge” nickname was well-earned. He can really throw the ball. That is exciting. He is athletic, he is bright and I think pro football really interests him. I gave him a lot of plays to learn and really tried to confuse him. There were different snap counts and audibles. There were drop-back plays, play-actions, movement plays, you name it. I gave him as much as I could give him in three hours. He did a pretty good job of retaining it when we went out onto the field.
While Gruden was a fan of Jones, he also acknowledged that it was going to take some time for him to develop:
Jones is going to need some work, and he is going to need someone who believes in him and wants to coach him hard every single day. Emotionally, he has to have thick skin. He has to love the journey. It is not going to happen overnight. The transition to the NFL can be difficult even for the most polished and experienced college prospects, but sometimes we do see players become better at the pro level than they were in college. It does not just magically happen.
Perhaps Gruden can figure out a way to unlock that raw talent. Unfortunately for Jones, the coach already has a project he’s working on in Marcus Mariota.