Raiders cornerback Taiwan Jones is a converted running back. He made the switch starting this offseason but the transition isn’t complete. The switch from offense to defense will take time especially with decreased practice reps during game week.

Jones has found a way to contribute in the interim. The third-year pro has become a standout special teams player especially on coverage units. Blazing speed makes Jones an excellent gunner who is adept at reaching returners in sync with Marquette King’s punt. He generally makes a tackle or slows a return down so others can.

He’s been so good that it prompted head coach Dennis Allen to make a bold proclamation.

“If he’s not the best special teams player in the league he’s one of the best special teams players in the league” Allen said. “He’s a difference maker in all of our coverage units.”

Jones has thrived in that role because he’s committed to it. He enjoys the responsibility of beating someone one-on-one and giving the defense a long field to work with.

He also knows that special teams is his niche and it makes him feel a valued part of this year’s team.