Who’s out: Marquette King
Who’s in: Coby Wadman
The eccentric one was punted from the roster while the young hopeful wants to make it. The Oakland Raiders punting situation is surely in flux.
King, the Raiders punter for past five seasons, is slated to kick in the thin air in Denver and, as he certainly wanted, gets to boot against the Raiders twice a year. Wadman, a UC Davis alum who impressed during a tryout at Oakland’s rookie mini-camp last season, was signed in March and is the in-house replacement.
In his final year as an Aggie during the 2016 season, Wadman dropped 11 of his 62 punts inside the 20 while 34 of his boots were fair caught. He compiled an average of 43.2 with nine touchbacks and a long of 66. Efficient, if not, impressive.
Are the Raiders going to enter mandatory offseason sessions in June with Wadman the long punter?
It’s quite possible. But if Raiders special teams boss Rich Bisaccia has a say in the matter, Wadman will be competing with a fellow rookie, drafted or undrafted. Bisaccia reportedly worked out Texas’ Michael Dickson and Alabama’s JK Scott privately before the team jettisoned King.
Dickson: 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. Has the booming leg and touch to take command of the field position game. Half of his punts last season landed inside the opponents 20 and he sports a career 45.3 average per punt. Also, he was the holder for the field goal unit.
Scott: 6-6, 209 pounds. His big leg was on display as over half of his boots landed in the opponents 20. A hangtime specialist, only four his kicks were touchbacks. Sports a career 45.6 average per boot and was also the holder on field goals. Won Ray Guy Award this past season as the best punter in the nation.
Both prospects showed big-time skills on the collegiate level as they limited return opportunities when they trotted out onto the field. That’s a quality trait that certainly caught the eye of Bisaccia.
Of the two, Dickson is the higher-rated prospect with a projected third and fourth-round grade. Scott, in comparison, merited a fifth-round projection.
The tricky part for Wadman or any punter added to the roster is holding. Dickson and Scott did it, but for right-footed kickers. The Raiders, of course, have southpaw kicker Giorgio Tavecchio which can change the dynamic of holding altogether.
Quick Kick: There’s a notion spending a draft pick on a punter is out-of-bounds. Understandable.
But be forewarned, the Raiders went from Shane Lechler to King, so fans have become accustomed to quality kickers. You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone, really. Once a Shankasaurus Rex inhabits the punter role, that tune will change. Field-flipping types like Dickson and Scott are worth the Day 3 selections.