Mike Goodson vs. Taiwan Jones: Breaking Down Raiders' Camp Battles at RB

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIJuly 23, 2012

Mike Goodson vs. Taiwan Jones: Breaking Down Raiders' Camp Battles at RB

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    As the Oakland Raiders await the start of training camp in six days, their depth at running back will help decide if they have what it takes to make the postseason for the first time since 2003.

    Darren McFadden is the unprecedented No. 1 running back for the Silver and Black, but with no Michael Bush to rely on this season, the Raiders must provide solid backups at running back if DMC should go down.

    If history repeats itself (as it has ever since McFadden broke into the league in 2008), then Oakland must be prepared to put a replacement in once McFadden gets injured.

    After losing Bush to the Chicago Bears in the offseason, the Raiders lost 977 potential yards in 2012 that Bush provided them with in 2011.

    Oakland is hopeful that the acquisition of former Carolina backup Mike Goodson will help void the hole that must be filled with Bush no longer in the picture.

    However, second-year running back Taiwan Jones turned some heads at Raiders mini-camp, and with two youngsters battling it out for the No. 2 spot, things are still looking up in Oakland when it comes to the ground game.

Experience

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    Advantage: Mike Goodson

    Although he was never a true starter in Carolina, Goodson had some memorable moments. In 2010, he played in all 16 games while rushing for 452 yards and three touchdowns.

    His back-to-back 100-yard performances against Tampa Bay and Baltimore were two of the finest performances of his young career.

    Though he doesn't have numbers that jump out and hit you in the face (unless you're referring to the total number of fumbles he has), he still has more NFL experience than Taiwan Jones.

    While Oakland flirted with numerous running backs last season after McFadden went down, Jones was limited to only 16 carries all season long.

Ball Control

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    Advantage: Taiwan Jones

    In the NFL, if you can't hold on to the football, your job security becomes dimmer as the day grows longer.

    During his time at Eastern Washington, Jones only fumbled the ball 11 times on 533 carries. He had zero fumbles in 2006 and although he seemed to lose his ball control the next season, he never earned the reputation of being "fumble-prone."

    Goodson, on the other hand, had four fumbles in only 103 rushes during his only productive season in 2010 as a member of the Panthers.

    Jones is the stronger candidate in this department, and it's something that will greatly determine who earns the No. 2 spot once the regular season begins.

Speed

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    Advantage: Taiwan Jones

    Sunday Night Football's Chris Collinsworth compared Jones' speed to that of Chris Johnson during a Raiders preseason game last year.

    Even though the overall talent comparison is stretched pretty far to say the least, the fact of the matter is that Jones can flat-out run.

    His 40-yard dash time of 4.33 is 0.2 seconds faster than Goodson's, which could be the difference between a two-yard gain and a twenty-yard gain.

    According to espn.com, Jones comes in 13 pounds lighter than Goodson. He has also shown that his speed makes it easier for him to explode through the tackles, an advantage he has over Goodson.

Versatility

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    Advantage: Mike Goodson

    Though Taiwan Jones has the speed that most running backs can only dream of, he is undersized to be any sort of threat when it comes to pass blocking.

    Granted, Mike Goodson isn't the strongest of pass blockers, his nearly 15-pound advantage over Jones makes him the better candidate.

    Goodson played special teams, as well as running back, during his time in Carolina. Jones returned kicks and punts while at Eastern Washington too, but dominating against the Big Sky Conference is something he can't rely too heavily on.

    Goodson's production was limited last season in Carolina when a healthy DeAngelo Williams sent him to the No. 3 spot. Suffering a hamstring injury of his own didn't help his case either after he was put on the shelf in November.

    In an interview with www.raiders.com, Goodson assured the team he was completely healed from the injury that landed him on IR last year.

Prediction

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    No. 2 Spot: Taiwan Jones

    At this point in time, your guess is as good as mine as to who will be Darren McFadden's backup once the season starts.

    Both Goodson and Jones have their own advantages, but with Week 1 still a month and a half away, it will take some time and analysis before a decision can be made.

    As the hometown favorite with the electrifying speed, Jones has the advantage within the Raiders' fanbase, but the team got rid of a proven Michael Bush in hopes of eventually getting solid running back play in return.

    Although Goodson has more experience at the professional level, his inability to hold on to the football makes him a definite liability.

    Look for Jones to get the majority of the carries if McFadden gets hurt again.