Here are my own thoughts on Eastern Washington’s Taiwan Jones
Position: Running Back
Size: 6’0″ – 194 pounds
What I like: Jones has elite speed and is drawing comparisons to Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, perhaps the most explosive player in the league. His forty-yard dash has been timed between somewhere in the 4.2 – 4.3 second range, making him one of the fastest running backs in the draft. He could be electric in Jay Gruden’s new West Coast offense that should get him one-on-one against linebackers and safeties in space. He also has some ability as a returner, which is an added bonus.
What I don’t like: The Bengals already have a player similar to Jones in running back Bernard Scott. I think the team would be better suited looking for a bigger back more in the Cedric Benson mold. Furthermore, Jones will be facing a steep jump in competition going from Eastern Washington to the NFL. He also has an injury history, which is pretty troubling for a back his size.
Final thoughts: I don’t expect – and I don’t really want – the Bengals to look at running backs until the third round or later. The team has more pressing needs at other places. Jones could be a good risk-reward pick somewhere in the third or fourth round. However, depending on the way the draft plays out, there might be someone of greater value right there alongside him. I think I’d prefer a bigger-school player with a better injury history if he’s available when the Bengals pick. If that type of guy is gone, I’d be content with Jones.