Raiders News: Jack Jones

You Don’t Know Jack: Is The Raiders’ Corner The Best In The West?

Las Vegas Raiders defensive backs coach Ricky Manning Jr. is already impressed with cornerback Jack Jones in more ways than one. His agility on the field, his developing maturity, and his similarity to Drumline’s star are just a few examples.

Head coach Antonio Pierce famously “put his job on the line” to acquire the defensive back when he hit waivers last season. The decision paid quick dividends, as Jones would immediately become the number one cornerstone for Las Vegas.

The visual of Jones staring down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during his pick-6 return will forever be engraved in the memories of Raider Nation. Jones brought a fire and swagger that had only been synonymous with the franchise’s spirit in recent years.

Some view this season as a chance for Jones to prove he belongs in the discussion with the better corners in the AFC West. Personally speaking, there is some bad news for the naysayers: that discussion is in the rear view.

The question now becomes: how does Jack Jones’ production hold up with the best the division has to offer?

Raiders CB Jack Jones And His Contemporaries

Jack Jones Already Believes He’s A Premier Corner

This may seem like a bold claim in a division that includes the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, but let’s take a look at who can compare to Jones on those rosters.

Pat Surtain II, Denver Broncos

After just three seasons, some consider PS2 to be a top-five corner in football. When the Broncos selected him 9th overall, his ascension to greatness felt like a foregone conclusion. With the level of production he’s amassed in Denver, few could deny that the assumptions were spot-on.

Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs

A first-round pick with far less fanfare than the aforementioned Surtain, McDuffie took a bit longer to show the promise Kansas City saw when they selected him 21st overall in 2022. 2023 was a bit of a breakout season for the Washington product, helping anchor a Chiefs defense that would capture a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy.

Jones may lack the draft pedigree of these two stars—Jones was a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft by the Patriots—but how does his body of work stack up?

How The Raiders’ Rising Star Compares

PLAYERS CMP% INTERCEPTIONS TACKLES FORCED FUMBLES SACKS
McDuffie 65.8% on 75 targets (2 TD’s Allowed) 0 80 5 3
Surtain II 59.3% on 95 targets (3 TD’s) 1 69 0 0
Jones* 62.7% 43 targets (1 TD) 2 37 0 0

*12 games in 2023

During the 2023 season, each of these three corners could hang their hat on one of the major categories. Surtain II held opposing signal-callers to the lowest completion percentage, with a sizable lead in targets. To Jones’ credit, while he gave up a combined 62.7% of his targets, the number goes down to 56.3% if you isolate his Las Vegas stats. Jones also finished the year with two interceptions to lead the group. While McDuffie has no career interceptions to date, he did outpace Jones in deflections (seven to five).

However, Surtain II would come out on top in that category with a total of 12 passes defended.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo uses Trent McDuffie more as a blitzing chess piece in his man pressure scheme, and his tackles reflect that. We expect McDuffie to assist in the run game and provide tight man coverage.

Keep something in mind…

When evaluating these statistics, it’s important to consider a few factors. For one, Jones didn’t get a full allotment of games last season and clearly flourished once he arrived in Las Vegas. Remember, Jones lacked a reliable running mate across the field. While Surtain saw a large number of targets coming his way and McDuffie played with a better corner opposite himself, Captain Jack was easier for quarterbacks to avoid.

If second-year teammate Jakorian Bennett improves or the Raiders sign a veteran option with their newly found cap room, Jones should see an increase in chances to get his hands on the football and add to his two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

As of now, Pat Surtain II has the pedigree and stats to support his case as the best corner in the AFC West. McDuffie provides a wide range of skills, but this will be his first season without his All-Pro counterpart, L’Jarius Sneed. But don’t sleep on Jack Jones’ chances to make a big jump in year three. Backed by the Raiders organization’s full confidence, Jones is primed to put his stamp on every game this season.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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