It may have been a long-shot, but any hope Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones had of being taken in the first two days ended on Friday as teams passed him over. Jones will surely be drafted and has been projected as a third- or fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, though injury concerns have teams taking a cautious approach. Playing his college ball at FCS Eastern Washington, Jones was electric, but was hampered by various injuries, including a foot injury that ended his season and kept him from the NFL Combine.
It's not a matter of if, but where with Jones and his time is coming quickly. Take Todd McShay's 2011 NFL mock draft, put together before Thursday's first round got started. In it, McShay projected Jones to the Green Bay Packers in round three, though it didn't come to fruition. Instead, the Backers took Alexander Green, a running back from Hawaii. Close, but not quite.
If we're looking at teams that need a running back, Jones does have a few options. The San Francisco 49ers could grab him, the Miami Dolphins are always playing roulette at the running back spot and even the Carolina Panthers or Cincinnati Bengals may go with a back. At this point in the draft, teams will start looking for best available and have the wiggle-room to take a chance on a player like Jones.
All told, we have no idea where Jones may end up, but do have a feeling he'll be gone early. Whoever gets him will add a player with serious explosiveness and the ability to break a game open with one cut or one quick move. Keep an eye on Jones during Saturday's final four rounds.