With the Las Vegas Raiders giving up their first and second-round draft picks this year in the Davante Adams trade, there hasn’t been a ton of focus on who the team might draft. They won’t be picking until the third round barring a trade but that doesn’t mean they can’t find impact players. Hunter Renfrow, Maxx Crosby and Darren Waller are three of the team’s best players and they were all drafted after the third round.
The Raiders can find some top sleepers in the draft. The team still has a need at cornerback and that could be one of the first positions they address. According to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, Las Vegas is planning to meet with Houston cornerback Marcus Jones.
“Jones wasn’t able to work out Friday. However, he has upcoming top-30 visits with the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Las Vegas Raiders, a medical recheck on April 13, the Carolina Panthers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to a league source,” Wilson wrote.
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Jones Could Be Elite Kick Returner
Jones is an interesting prospect as he brings a lot of versatility to the table. He’s played cornerback and wide receiver while also manning kick return duties while in college. According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, Jones projects to be a major factor on special teams but his lack of size is concerning:
Projects as a twitchy, undersized slot cornerback with playmaking traits and game-changing return talent. Jones has the hips and feet to cover slippery slot receivers and the ballhawking instincts to make plays from zone. He can be too reliant on his athletic ability. He needs to play with better discipline and route anticipation as a pro. He can be mismatched against size but he’s plenty scrappy in those battles. Jones’ lack of size will hurt him with some teams while others will elevate his grade thanks to his electric ability on special teams. There could be teams that look to give him reps at receiver, where he would have more big-play opportunities.
At just 5-foot-8, 174 pounds, Jones isn’t matching up with bigger wide receivers. The Raiders already took a chance on a tiny cornerback in Amik Robertson back in 2020 and he’s failed to make an impact. That said, Roberston doesn’t have the kick returning ability that Jones has.
Jones Should Be Available When Raiders Pick
If the visit with Jones goes well and the Raiders like him, there’s a good chance he’ll be available to the team in the third or fourth round. The Draft Network has his value in the fourth round. It’s unlikely he goes any higher than the third round.
Jones projects to be a slot cornerback, which the Raiders already have in Nate Hobbs. However, he could see more playing time on the outside in Patrick Graham’s defense. That would leave a big opening at slot cornerback. Even if the team doesn’t see him playing a lot of defensive snaps in 2022, he could be the solution at kick returner.