The Las Vegas Raiders have two young stars at their positions in kicker Daniel Carlson, and punter A.J. Cole, and they have to be a priority this offseason.
The Las Vegas Raiders have two young stars at the kicker and punter position, and neither of them came to the team as draft picks. Instead, it was a former draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings who came to the Silver and Black back in 2018, a player who was released a few games into his career and has made a home with the Raiders.
Of course, that player is Daniel Carlson, who shook off some issues early in his tenure with the Raiders to become one of the best young placekickers in all of football. On Thursday, not only did he hit the game-winner in overtime, but he also kicked a career-high 56 yards in a perfect afternoon, one that saw him nail five field goals and three extra points.
In terms of the punter spot, A.J. Cole came to the Silver and Black as an undrafted free agent the following year, beating out a Raiders draft pick in Johnny Townsend to claim the job heading into the 2019 season. Cole has gotten better every season with the Raiders and looked like Sean Lechler with a 68-yard punt against the Cowboys.
Raiders could be set at kicker and punter for a long time
All told, this is a dynamic young duo that is going to be great for this franchise for a very long time. Unfortunately, both men are pending free agents this offseason, but between how well they have played for the franchise, and the friendship between them, and long-snapper Trent Sieg, I would think the Raiders have the inside track to bring them back in 2022 and beyond.
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On Thursday, we saw how important these two players are to this franchise, as Carlson was perfect kicking the ball, and Cole helped control the possession game. Overall, both were incredible finds for this organization, and this offseason, the team needs to make sure they stay in the Silver and Black for the foreseeable future.