Raiders punter AJ Cole putting together historic start to career

Las Vegas Raiders punter AJ Cole is the next in a long line of elite punters for the franchise.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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The start of Cole's NFL journey

As the 2019 NFL Draft came and went, only two punters were selected, and Cole wasn’t one of them.

A week later, here enters the Oakland Raiders, coming off a season where punter Johnny Townsend had the worst yards per punt of anyone in the NFL who played the full season. The Raiders, along with the Atlanta Falcons, invited Cole to their rookie mini camps for a try out.

Raiders special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was impressed. So much that he would not let him leave the building. Cole would sign an Undrafted Free Agent contract immediately, and subsequently given the opportunity to compete for the job against their current punter Townsend.

There’s a high standard to being the punter of the Raiders. Some of the best to ever boot a football wore Silver and Black. Atop that list is Raiders three-time Super Bowl champion, Ray Guy, who is the only punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I mentioned earlier how Cole stands alone with the greatest career yards per punt in NFL history right now. That record was held by Raiders legend Shane Lechler at the time of his retirement in 2017 – and some believe Lechler belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Not to mention, former Raider Marquette King who is 11th on the all-time list for yards per punt, including being crowned the NFL yards per punt champion in 2013, earned a 2nd team All-Pro honor in 2016, and spent four of his five seasons in the top 10 of the NFL in punting yards.

And don’t forget Jeff Gossett. In the midst of his 9 seasons with the Raiders, he earned both first team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl honor in 1991, when a league-leading 38.8% of his punts were downed inside opponent’s 20-yard line that year.

No team in the NFL has accomplished more at the punter position than the Raiders.