Core special teamers are always an overlooked but important part of an NFL roster. Everybody knows they’re important, but unless it’s someone on the level of Steve Tasker you’d be hard-pressed to find a normal fan who could name any of them, even on their favorite team. Most of the time, the only reason a person might know a guy in the running for a special teams role is if he was just signed in the last couple weeks and shares a last name and jersey number with a former third-string quarterback who was just traded.
Name: Taiwan Jones
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 195 lbs.
College: Eastern Washington
Draft: Round 4, Pick 125 by the Oakland Raiders (2011)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Jones is on a one-year deal that will pay him $775,000 this year. There is no guaranteed money in the contract.
2016 Recap: Jones played in 13 games for the Raiders last year, almost exclusively on special teams. He carried the ball one time for a loss of eight yards, but caught four passes for 43 yards. He also returned eight kicks for a total of 112 yards.
Positional Outlook: Jones hasn’t figured into the running back rotation very much at this point, as Joe Banyard and Cedric O’Neal seem to be vying for the final running back spot. He also doesn’t seem to be jockeying for a return spot at this point, as Brandon Tate has seemingly locked up another season in that role.
2017 Offseason: Jones signed with the Bills about three weeks ago and has appeared in both preseason games up to this point. His biggest highlight was tackling a Minnesota Vikings return man on a fair catch, so ... yeah.
2017 Season Outlook: Jones’ best bet to make the 2017 Bills roster is as a special teams coverage man. He’s had plenty of chances to impress as a gunner, but hasn’t been a standout player in that role. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see his name among the cuts at the end of the preseason.