Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer 403d

Versatile Jon Feliciano prepping for Miami homecoming

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Equal parts homecoming and business trip, Jon Feliciano is prepared for both.

The Oakland Raiders swing interior offensive lineman, who grew up outside of Miami in Davie, Florida and played his college ball for the Miami Hurricanes, also prepared for the 2015 draft at the IMG Academy with the NFL Pre-Combine/Draft Training Program.

So yeah, there are some full-circle things going on for Feliciano here as the Raiders stay a week in Florida preparing for Sunday night's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Feliciano, taken in the fourth round by Oakland, is in line to start at right guard in place of the injured Gabe Jackson, who has an ankle issue and missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

"This is definitely a big game, being back home," Feliciano said this week in the IMG soccer team locker room, temporary headquarters for the Raiders.

"Pretty excited. It's a big game."

Plus, he is more than a cheerleader on the bench. Much more.

"We get a chuckle every once in a while on the sidelines, [when] there's a big play down on our sideline and you can see our bench and Jon Feliciano is always one of the first guys celebrating or helping up the ball carrier as he's gone out of bounds," said Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing. "The guy plays the game with passion and joy and energy and a nastiness and tenacity that I really, really respect and appreciate. We're fortunate to have Jon.

"He is a starting-caliber player in this league and we feel very, very fortunate that if Gabe can't answer the bell, that Jon is ready to go."

Feliciano already started a game for an injured Jackson this season, in Week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens, and emerged with a Pro Football Focus grade of 82.6, the fourth-highest on Oakland's roster that day.

"I think he showed that on that day he was [a starting-caliber player]," said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio. "We like him. We're glad we have him.

"Jon's an athletic big guy. He brings toughness ... he's versatile. He's played all along the offensive line. He's played tackle, he's played guard, he's played center. He played fullback, he played tight end. He's a smart guy. He's a tough guy and brings that great versatility."

Feliciano has also returned a pooched kickoff for 15 yards this season.

"Whenever they tell me I can go in, I'm down for it," he said. "Tight end, wide receiver, not quarterback, but any position."

And at Buffalo, he was the lead blocking fullback on Jamize Olawale's 1-yard touchdown plunge. Even if Feliciano went right, and Olawale went left.

"I was a decoy, man," Feliciano said with a laugh. "Defenses know they've got to watch out for me."

All over the field, it would seem.

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