Tag:Taiwan Jones
Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Five who could crash 2nd round

My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter just listed a detailed breakdown of NFLDraftScout.com's top prospects still on the board.

I've been speaking to representatives from teams this morning to try and identify a few under-the-radar players who could "crash" the second round and wind up surprise top 64 picks.

Here are a few to keep in mind:

Hawaii WR Greg Salas -- Physical receiver who is a reliable route-runner and hands-catcher. Surprisingly dropped some balls at the Senior Bowl, as he was clearly pressing. Excellent tape, however. Versatile. Can line up outside and in the slot.

Miami CB Demarcus Van Dyke -- He's 6-1 and was timed (hand-held) at 4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. He isn't the most physical corner in the world, but the talent is there.

Wisconsin OG John Moffitt -- USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith was the only OL to get drafted among first 14 picks. The next 18 picks saw seven offensive linemen get picked. Tough, physical, reliable linemen don't slip on draft day; they rise. 

Eastern Washington RB Taiwan Jones -- There are plenty of questions about Jones' durability, ball security and level of competition, but the junior is the most electric open-field runner in the draft. Someone will reach to get lightning in a bottle.

California FS Chris Conte -- Overshadowed in the Pac-10 by UCLA's Rahim Moore, but some teams view Conte as the better prospect. Former cornerback who proved to be a reliable open field tackler. Viewed as an ascending talent.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

OT, RB depth underrated strengths of 2011 class

For most fans of the NFL draft, it is simply human nature to focus on the best players. These, of course, are the headliners that typically are drafted highest and thus, are expected to make the most immediate and lasting impact in the NFL.

Scouts, however, are very well aware of the fact that the big names will only constitute the first 32 or 64 picks of the 254 players selected this year.

As such, they're dedicating much of their attention to the lower rated prospects... and what they've been discovering is the unusual depth at offensive tackle and running back in this year's class.

By now, everyone knows the elite offensive tackles. Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder are all expected to be first round picks . The depth behind the "fabulous five" is worth mentioning too.

Teams are quite high on the toughness and consistency of Alabama's James Carpenter and Miami's Orlando Franklin. With a little fine-tuning, TCU's Marcus Cannon, Indiana's James Brewer and Florida's Marcus Gilbert could surprise. Though level of competition questions abound, no one dominated their opponents as consistently as Villanova's Ben Ijalana throughout his respective career. There are a lot of teams very high on the long-term upside of lower level FBS prospects Derek Newton (Arkansas State), Jah Reid (Central Florida), Willie Smith (East Carolina), Byron Stingily (Louisville) and Byron Bell (New Mexico).

Running backs offer similar depth.

I highlighted three of the "sleeper" running backs that I really like in this video with CBS' Lauren Shehadi. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones and Hawaii's Alex Green are only a few of the backs not getting a lot of media attention that I feel will ultimately surprise. I'm also particularly high on Clemson's Jamie Harper, Louisville's Bilal Powell and Miami's Graig Cooper, though NFLDraftScout.com currently rates all three as Day three picks or, in the case of Cooper, even a potentially undrafted player.

Last year we saw two undrafted free agents lead all rookie running backs in rushing yards. Tampa found their star in former Oregon Duck LaGarrette Blount and New Orleans found a true diamond in the rough in former Tiffin Dragon (and Washington State Cougar) Chris Ivory. The three running backs drafted in the first round -- CJ Spiller (Buffalo), Ryan Matthews (San Diego) and Jahvid Best (Detroit) were all relative disappointments as rookies.

Considering the underrated talent of this year's RB class, don't be surprised if a Day Three find winds up competing for the league's rookie rushing title again in 2011...
Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Jonesin' for Speed

Multiple reports are confirmed what everyone already knew: Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones is fast and athletic.

Stopwatches recorded times in the high 4.2's to low 4.3's on Jones' only forty-yard dash attempt. He also put up other athletic testing numbers that would have put him at the top of the running back (or even wide receiver) heap at the Combine. Jones' workout was pushed into mid-April because of a foot injury suffered in the Football Championship Subdivision play-offs. He appeared to be fully healthy in today's workout.

Jones' production and speed already had scouts pegging him in the third round of this year's draft, with the assumption he would run as well as he did today. He ran for 1,742 yards and 14 TD in just 12 games this fall, catching 24 passes for 342 yards and three scores. He showed great promise as a kick returner in 2008, averaging 36.3 yards a try with one touchdown but averaged just 20.4 a return in 2009, 20.9 this season.

Scouts won't like the fact he missed games with an "abdominal contusion" and foot injury this year--in addition to being nicked up with hip, hand, shoulder injuries in 2009 and sitting out with a broken leg in 2008.

He also fumbled 18 times the past three seasons (17 in 2009-2010), losing eight (seven).

That sort of injury track record and lack of ball security won't sit well with teams, who know the hits will come much harder and faster at the next level.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: April 3, 2011 12:10 pm
 

TE Rudolph, RB Jones last of the top Pro Days

The Pro Day "season" is coming to a close, but not before two of the more intriguing skill position talents get their chance to work out for scouts.

Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph , NFLDraftScout.com's top rated player at the position , will be among the former Irish players working out on campus this upcoming Thursday, April 7. Unlike many of this year's tight end prospects, at 6-6 and 259 pounds, Rudolph has the size to compete as a blocker, as well as be a security blanket over the middle.

Teams do have questions about his straight-line speed and upper body strength, however, making his Pro Day workout an important element to determining his final grade.

Rudolph missed the final seven games of his junior season after surgery to repair a hamstring avulsion (muscle tears off the bone). As such, he was unable to work out at the Combine.

Though Rudolph has the bigger name, there could wind up being just as many top decision-makers at Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones ' Pro Day a week later.

Unlike the Notre Dame Pro Day, in which Rudolph will be sharing the spotlight with underrated defensive tackle Ian Williams, among others, scouts will be coming to see just Jones at his April 14 workout.

Jones' workout, rather than be scheduled at EWU's campus in the tranquil but remote setting of Cheney, Washington, will take place at Los Medanos Junior College in Antioch, Calif ornia.

Though most athletes choose to work out at their school, prospects do have the option of working out in their home states. Jones was raised in Antioch.

Jones is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9 rated running back. Some teams view the 6-0, 194 pound Jones as a possible converst to cornerback or wide receiver. Jones has struggled with durability throughout his career and has electric speed. As this video suggests , he may wind up being the fastest player in the 2011 draft.

There are 26 NFL teams already scheduled to attend his workout April 14. Jones will be doing all of the measureable drills and may be asked to do positional drills at running back, receiver and cornerback.
Posted on: March 27, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Video - Taiwan Jones fastest man in 2011 draft?

The key to running a fast time in the 40-yard dash, trainers say, is to start fast. 

If that theory proves true, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones may prove to be the fastest player in the 2011 draft.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo.com recorded a video of Jones practicing the 40-yard dash at the esteemed Athletes Performance. In the video, Jones' coach, Performance Manager Brent Callaway, claims that Jones' 10-yard splits are in the "1.4s." If so, the 6-0, 194 pound running back will have finished the most important quarter of the 40-yard dash faster than anyone tested at the Scouting Combine.

The video shows Callaway coaching Jones on the first 15 yards of the dash. It is Callaway's comments about Jones' starts a little later in the video, however, that will create the biggest stir in the scouting community. At one point he tells Jones he had him at "1.45."

Followng the workout, Farrar asks Callaway the question we'd all like to know -- What's [Jones] been running here?

"Running fast. Running fast," Callaway replies. "We haven't caught him on a full 40 yet, but his first 10 he's been running low 1.4s and that sets him up to run really fast whenever he goes out."

I'll say.

According to sources within the league, the fastest electronically timed 10-yard split run at the 2011 Scouting Combine was by Ohio State's Chimdi Chekwa -- who ran it in 1.52 seconds. Chekwa was electronically timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, only .01 seconds slower than Miami's DeMarcus Van Dyke -- the fastest player at the 2011 Combine. Van Dyke's fastest 10-yard split was 1.58 seconds.*

Jones is training for his Pro Day April 14. A broken bone in his left foot suffered in the playoffs on EWU's run to the national championship kept Jones from working out at the Scouting Combine or Eastern Washington's scheduled Pro Day. Jones, the 2010 Big Sky Co-Offensive Player of the Year, rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last season.

He is a player I'm very high on. I believe he's the most electrifying open field runner in this class. He comes with legitimate durability concerns, but his versatility and athleticism could make him an immediate difference-maker in the right offense. NFLDraftScout.com currently rates Jones as a 3rd-4th round pick .

*These electronically-timed results are the ones used by NFL teams and in some cases different than the times reported during The NFL Network and NFL.com's coverage of the Combine. NFL.com credits Van Dyke with a 4.28 second time in the 40-yard dash and has LSU's Patrick Peterson and Maryland's Da'Rel Scott tied for second place in the 40-yard dash at 4.34 seconds. The fastest electronic times, on the other hand, for Peterson and Scott were 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash (1.57 in the 10-yard split) and 4.38 and 1.55 seconds, respectively for Scott.

Here is Farrar's video: 








Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Taiwan Jones out of boot but won't run at Combine

Eastern Washington junior running back Taiwan Jones is out of the boot he'd be wearing to protect a broken left foot and is preparing to run for scouts at Hawaii's Pro Day March 31, according to a source close to him.

Jones would be allowed to work out at Hawaii's Pro Day because that workout will take place in California -- Jones' home state.

Jones had been wearing the boot since undergoing surgery. He has been working out at Athletes Performance in Los Angeles to prepare for the Combine and subsequent Pro Days.

It is unfortunate that Jones, the only FCS player to be granted early eligibility into the 2011 draft, will be unable to run and jump for scouts at the Combine later this month. The 6-0, 200 pounder is an electric open field runner who rushed for 1,742 yards this season, scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground. The former cornerback averaged a stunning 7.9 yards per carry over his 24 game collegiate career. Jones has been compared to Tennessee's Chris Johnson and Kansas City's Jamaal Charles for his almost video game-like combination of speed and elusiveness.

His production was a vital component of Eastern's rise to the FCS Championship. Despite the success of the program, as an FCS player, Jones is a relative unknown. Had he been able to work out in Indianapolis, he could have generated a great deal of interest with in less than four and a half seconds with an impressive workout. One regional scout who visited Eastern's campus in tiny Cheney, Washington characterized Jones as a "legiitmate 4.3 guy with explosive hops."

Jones, according to the source, can do just about anything on the foot -- walk, lift, jump -- except run.


Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:57 pm
 

EWU RB Jones 57th underclassman in draft

According to an NFL spokesperson, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones was indeed granted special eligibility for the 2011 draft.

There had been some confusion as Jones was not among the record 56 underclassmen listed on a league press release provided yesterday.

The NFL's initial release "included only Division I-A players" and that Jones, as well as any other FCS players, would be mentioned in a later release by the league.

Until the league releases its non-FBS list to teams, the NFL was unwilling to list any other FCS underclassmen who may or may not be included in the 2011 draft. The spokesperson did confirm, however, that Jones turned in his paperwork and is eligible for the 2011 draft, making him the 57th (and counting?) underclassman available. 

The 6-0, 200 pound Jones rushed for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns for the FCS champion Eastern Eagles. Jones was unable to play in the national championship game, however, as he broke a bone in his left foot earlier in the playoffs. He'd rushed for 230 yards against North Dakota State before sustaining the injury.

Jones, a former cornerback, possesses a combination of speed and elusiveness that quite frankly is rare at the the FCS level. He is currently rated as a 5th round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, but if he can prove his health to scouts at the Combine, he could skyrocket up draft boards.

Teams are always going to be hesitant to draft a running back with Jones' marginal build and history of injuries (broken foot, broken fibula in 2008, hand, shoulder and hip flexor issues in 2009), but in terms of explosiveness, Jones ranks with any back in this draft. 
Posted on: January 15, 2011 11:41 am
 

Poor decisions mar underclassmen deadline day

For NFL teams looking at a less than impressive senior class, January 15 has developed into a holiday of sorts. As the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, teams are hopeful that a few more presents will pop up to enhance the crop they've already seen.

It has been a bountiful catch already. Each player selected in the top five will be underclassmen, with Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara and Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller rating as the only seniors likely to have a chance at the top ten.

But for every Da'Quan Bowers or A.J. Green physically ready to make the leap to the NFL, there are other underclassmen who should have remained in school.

As of this morning I've been told of 55 players making the leap. Some of them, quite frankly, are leaping off the cliff of undrafted free agency.

Some of the most troubling decisions were made by running backs and safeties. 

Consider that so far this year there have been 12 underclassmen running backs who have declared for the 2011 NFL Draft.

There were only 12 running backs drafted last year.

For players like Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones, Virginia Tech's Darren Evans, and Wisconsin's John Clay, the decision could turn out disastrous.

You can't get three backs more different than the 5-11, 190 pound speedster Jones, the 6-0, 220 pound Evans and the 6-1, 248 pound bruiser Clay. Yet all three have struggled with durability and will be entering the NFL without the offenses taylored around their game that helped each standout at the collegiate level.

Jones, who has struggled the most with injuries but is the most physically gifted of the three may be one taking the biggest gamble, especially considering that scouts are going to naturally question his FCS competition. Even if he'd returned for his senior season and helped Eastern and again struggled with durability, he'd have potentially had the opportunity to play in a senior all-star game.

The weak senior running back class (scouts aren't sure there will be a single senior drafted in the top two rounds) convinced many of these underclassmen to come out. The same is true at safety. At of this morning, "only" five safeties had declared early for the draft -- UCLA's Rahim Moore, West Virginia's Robert Sands, Iowa's Tyler Sash, Georgia Tech's Jerrard Terrant and Florida's Will Hill -- but two of them could be making significant mistakes.

Moore and Hill have made some eye-popping plays over their respective careers, but each is coming off a disappointing junior season and surprised scouts with their decisions to leave early. Perhaps surprised isn't the correct word. Scouts had known that each was strongly considering the jump for the last month or so, but it doesn't change the fact that each was more highly thought of at the end of last season -- had much to gain with a strong senior year -- than they did by coming out now.

Moore, in particular, has been labeled by many as a first round caliber prospect, but after doing my film review of him this past week, I see an unreliable open field tackler who is inconsistent in coverage. His FBS-leading 10 interceptions in 2009 may have been a by-product of the play of his former teammates, now NFL players (Bucs' DT Brian Price and Titans' CB Alterraun Verner). Without them, Moore intercepted one pass in 2010.  I gave him a 3rd-4th round grade.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com