The 2022 NFL regular season wasn’t too kind to the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite the struggles and drama, the roster featured several standouts. While Raiders defensive captain Maxx Crosby makes another 2023 NFL Pro Bowl appearance (he was last year’s MVP, by the way), the Raiders’ offense will be well-represented. Joining in on the festivities is a last-minute addition to the Pro Bowl team: 2021 All-Pro punter AJ Cole.
Replacing Kansas City Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend, Cole’s selection was surely a gimmie. The argument could be made that Cole has been the best punter in the NFL the last few years.
2023 NFL Pro Bowl: AJ Cole, The Raiders, All Representing The Silver and Black On Sunday
In a press release issued by the Raiders’ organization, they note that this year’s Pro Bowl will mark the 36th time that at least four or more players from the Silver and Black earn a nod in the same season. Needless to say, the Raiders’ foundation is looking strong. Joining Cole and Crosby will be the NFL’s leading rusher, Josh Jacobs. Also, don’t forget about superstar wideout Davante Adams.
“In 2022, Cole finished fourth in the NFL with a 48.9 gross punting average on 59 punts, while his 43.9 net punting average ranked fifth in the league (min. 50 attempts). Cole downed 20.3 percent of his punts (12) inside the 10-yard line this season, the fifth-best percentage in the NFL. His five punts downed inside the 5-yard line (8.5 percent) ranked second in the league.” -via Raiders’ press release.
Say what you will about the Raiders and their struggles, but one area where they have rarely struggled is on special teams. The trio of Cole, Daniel Carlson, and Trent Sieg is one of, if not the best, in the NFL. For many years, the Raiders also featured Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler. Of course, who can forget the immortal Pro Football Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy as well. Cole will look to keep this strong tradition going with consecutive Pro Bowl nods.
*Top Photo: Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders