Perhaps one of the most intriguing prospects from the offensive side of the ball for the 2011 NFL Draft is RB Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington).
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Jones (5-11, 194), who did not work out last month during the NFL Scouting Combine because he was still recovering from a broken left foot, will work out for teams on April 14.
The small school back, who might be the fastest at his position available for this draft, has caught the eye of at least one popular NFL Draft analyst.
“Eastern Washington has its pro day on April 1 and Taiwan Jones is an under-the-radar tailback that most NFL teams can't wait to watch next week,” NFL Network's Mike Mayock said during his chat at NFL.com last week. “He's 194 pounds and I think he's going to run 4.35 or better. He's a home-run hitter who can impact the return game and I think that you try to get him another 10 touches per game as a change-of-pace back.”
Jones is expected to work out for a bunch of teams including the Miami Dolphins and others leading up to the draft. The Carolina Panthers are expected to have him in for a visit, a source said. One of the coaches from the offensive staff of the Philadelphia Eagles visited with Jones near campus.
The Dolphins only have backup Kory Sheets and Lex Hilliard under contract for next season at running back, so their interest in Jones makes a lot of sense.
The Eagles only have starter LeSean McCoy and special teams ace Eldra Buckley under contract at running back. The Eagles could get RB Jerome Harrison back as a restricted free agent depending on the rules of the CBA when a new one is completed.
The Panthers have four backs under contract already for next season, so their interest in Jones is a little bit surprising. And RB DeAngelo Williams could be a restricted free agent once the CBA is completed.
Jones, according to personnel sources, is expected to go off the board in rounds 2-4. If he runs a 4.35 or better like Mayock is predicting, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Jones is selected on the second day of the draft. Former University of Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott had the top 40-time for the position at the Combine with a 4.34.