Dallas Cowboys

Versatile Byron Jones returns to safety position with Cowboys

Rookie Byron Jones has 46 tackles this season.
Rookie Byron Jones has 46 tackles this season. Star-Telegram

Byron Jones would like to find a home as either a safety or cornerback. At some point, that is.

For now, Jones is more than happy showing his versatility and playing wherever the Dallas Cowboys need him. This week, that means safety with Morris Claiborne set to return at corner where Jones has filled in the past two games.

Jones doesn’t have a position preference yet.

“I’m not particularly great at any position yet, so I’m just bouncing around until I find a home,” said Jones, who will be playing in front of about 15-18 family members on Monday night in the nation’s capital.

“At some point I’d like to settle down, but right now I’m just happy to play some football honestly.”

The versatile Jones has in the secondary is something the Cowboys has liked since the day they used their first-round pick on him. And he has the football smarts and instincts necessary to make a rather seamless transition between the two positions.

Jones made his initial mark in Week 5, when he was largely responsible for containing Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, one of the toughest matchups in the league. Jones had nine tackles that week, and has gotten more regular playing time since.

Jones has nine passes defended over the past six weeks, including two against the Panthers on Thanksgiving when he filled in for Claiborne at cornerback for the second straight week. Jones had a rougher game against Miami on Nov. 22, though, getting burned for two deep passes and injuring his ankle on the second-to-last play.

Jones said his ankle has become a nagging injury, but is not something that will keep him out of the game. He also dismissed any concerns of possibly hitting a rookie wall down the stretch.

“I feel pretty good. The only thing I’m worried about is the ankle, but other than that I feel pretty good,” Jones said. “Muscles feel great. That five-day break after the Thanksgiving game was crucial – my body feels rejuvenated.”

Now it’s back to safety for Jones, a position that has appeared to suit him better early on in his career. But nobody is ready to lock him into a position yet.

“He’s done a lot of good things at different spots for such a young player,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It’s not like he hasn’t played these positions before. He played safety for two years in college and played corner for two years. I think he’s demonstrated a comfort level at each of them.”