Yesterday, the Oakland Raiders acquired wide receiver Zay Jones from the Buffalo Bills. In return for the former East Carolina standout, the Bills receive a fifth round pick from the Raiders in the 2021 NFL Draft. With questions surrounding this deal, lets’s examine the reasons.
Who is Zay Jones?
During his time at East Carolina, Jones tallied 399 catches and 23 touchdowns, with a 10.7 average. Now, those numbers do not leap out as a star. yet, the Bills saw enough to draft him in the second round of the 2017 draft. In Buffalo, Jones snared 90 passes for 1037 yards and nine touchdowns. Although not outstanding, Jones fills a crucial need for the Oakland Raiders.
What Can He Bring?
Although he timed in the 4.45 range at the draft, Jones does not profile as a burner. However, what he does do is move the chains. Armed with a 10.7 yards per catch average and film to back it up, the Raiders should expect him to find the soft spots in zone and work underneath. In return Tyrell Williams should continue to prosper as a deep threat, number one wideout.
Red Flag #1
If you look at his catch percentage numbers, Jones brings the ball in less than half the time. Now, some of that can be explained. In all honesty, Josh Allen does not throw the most catchable ball, at times. As a result, Jones struggles with tracking and securing the passes. While not an excuse, he will need to rapidly improve that aspect, if he plans to plan within the Raiders offense.
Red Flag #2
In March 2018, the Los Angeles Police Department detained Jones after an incident. Apparently, a naked Jones began fighting with his brother. While speculation exists as to why the incident occurred, we will keep this to what is readily known. Although not essentially a very red flag, any further behavior must remain closely observed.
Why Not Diggs?
In all honestly, the Raiders do not need to ship any higher picks away. Granted, Stefon Diggs would be a tremendous upgrade, spending such high draft capital does not seem excessively bright. Plus, with a draft class that looks solid at wide receiver, why should the Raiders tie themselves down?
As mentioned, Zay Jones presents a low-cost, high reward option for the Raiders. While he can help the team right now, he may not have fully reached his ceiling. The Raiders find their number two wideout for next to nothing.