This move shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Raiders were the obvious suitor for Jones following his surprise release from the Patriots. Interim head coach Antonio Pierce goes way back with the cornerback. He coached Jones in high school at Long Beach Polytechnic. When Pierce went to Arizona State to be an assistant coach, Jones transferred from USC to go play for him.
Jones has faced off-the-field issues and was arrested at Boston’s Logan Airport with two loaded guns in the offseason, according to police, via a June 16 report from NBC10 Boston. Prosecutors agreed to drop the nine charges against Jones in August after he agreed to one year of probation and 48 hours of community service.
Considering Pierce’s close ties with Jones, he could be the right coach to get the most out of the cornerback and keep him out of trouble off the field.
Jack Jones Could Become Key Player for Las Vegas Raiders
While the Raiders defense has been improved this season, there’s still room for improvement in the secondary. According to Pro Football Focus player grades, Nate Hobbs (12) and Marcus Peters (35) are the only Raiders cornerbacks graded within the top 70 in the NFL.
Now, Jack Jones hasn’t been having the best season. He’s been limited to just five games due to injury and was benched by the Patriots before getting released. Adding him is banking on potential. Last season, Jones looked like a future star cornerback. He had a 74.7 Pro Football Focus grade and was a key player for the Patriots’ defense.
Jones’ Pro Football Focus grade has fallen to 46.6 this season but he’s also seen his role diminished with the Patriots. Antonio Pierce clearly believes in him or he wouldn’t have claimed him off of waivers. The Raiders could be the best landing spot for him if he hopes to return to the form he had during his rookie season.
Antonio Pierce Has Got to Bat for Jack Jones Before
Jack Jones was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, according to The562.org. He had big expectations when he first went to USC but had a hard time with schoolwork. He couldn’t keep up with the academic side of things and was eventually declared academically ineligible to play.
That’s when Antonio Pierce, the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the time, brought Jones to Arizona State.
“He needs to be loved, he needs to be guided,” Pierce said of Jones in a June 2020 interview with The Athletic. “He needs guys around him. He needs the support staff academically. You put the pieces in place in front of him and he’ll get it accomplished.”
Jones turned things around at Arizona State and eventually made the Dean’s List.
“It’s amazing,” Pierce said at the time. “With all this COVID, not being in school, to make the Dean’s List and to put up a GPA over 3.5, for a kid that I know personally ain’t never hit a 3.5, it just speaks volumes of his growth and maturity and everything he’s overcome.”
Pierce knows how to push Jones’ buttons and playing for him could be the key to success at the NFL level.