Raiders sign their punter of the present and future


Raiders sign their punter of the present and future

Johnny Townsend should be the Raiders punter in 2018. The fifth-round pick is unproven at this level, but he has the power and accuracy to succeed at the NFL. The Raiders are confident in this kid, so much so that he’s the only punter on the roster.

Colby Wadman was waived last week, and Townsend will take over all practice reps moving forward.

That on-field work starts in earnest when OTAs begin next week, but he took care of an off-field matter on Monday.Townsend signed his four-year rookie contract, officially becoming a Raiders employee. His salary is largely set by the league’s rookie wage scale, and compensation is based on draft slot.

The University of Florida alum was taken No. 173 overall. He’s expected to earn $2.576 million over the life of his rookie deal, per The site states he’d due a $161,475 signing bonus, and carries a $534,388 salary-cap hit.

The Raiders are excited to have Townsend in Alameda.

“He was our guy, I think, from the beginning,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s an excellent directional punter. He has a strong leg. When you talk about punters, no one really looks into what kind of holders they are. The holder is as important to the operation of a field goal than almost the kick itself. This man can put the ball down, he can field a bad snap. He’s an excellent punter. He can handle a bad snap and he’s a great kid. He’s an outstanding athlete, so we’re happy to have him.”

Raiders add two to roster

The Raiders signed safety Dallin Leavitt and long snapper Drew Scott, tryout players who impressed at the team's rookie minicamp. The Raiders roster is back at 90, the league's offseason maximum. 

2019 Senior Bowl: Raiders should keep eye on several safety prospects


2019 Senior Bowl: Raiders should keep eye on several safety prospects

There’s talented youth at several spots in the Raiders secondary. Gareon Conley looks like the real deal, and should be a long-term solution at cornerback.

Daryl Worley’s a restricted free agent, but is expected to return. He plays the physical coverage Paul Guenther prefers, and will continue to develop at such a young age. Nick Nelson’s in the mix for a slot cornerback slot as well entering his second season, though some depth/competition’s required there.

Karl Joseph made great strides toward the end of last season, and could play an important, physical role for coaches who can play to his strengths and minimize effects of a lack of height.

A ballhawk safety’s missing from the crew. Or, even better yet, a versatile player who can man several spots as a safety.

[RELATED: Raiders defensive depth chart: Upgrades mandatory at several key spots]

That’s why the Raiders must be thrilled to have Delaware’s Nasir Adderley on the Senior Bowl’s North squad. Jon Gruden and staff are coaching that side, and will get a long look at him during the practice week.

The Raiders will keep a close eye on their safeties and some on the South side, as they try to decide whether to draft one or signed a veteran in free agency. There’s a vacancy in the secondary, and there are some top safety options at the Senior Bowl.

Will one of these guys below fill it?

Nasir Adderley, Delaware, 5-11, 200 pounds
Adderley will be watched closely during Senior Bowl week to see if his performance against big-school competition matches excellent game tape from his career at Delaware. Analysts say he has great range, plays aggressive and physical and can play everywhere including single-high safety.

He has experience playing cornerback as well and can cover most receiving positions well. He can take on blocks and tackle well, and always hustles. That sounds like a coach’s dream.

Might the Raiders find a spot for him with one of their higher picks? An early selection will be required if he impresses, as expected, during the pre-draft process.
Projected: Early rounds

Marquis Blair, Utah, 6-2, 195
This big safety can really run and shows great range in the open field, something the Raiders could use in their secondary. He’ll have to show well for Gruden’s North squad at the Senior Bowl, especially in man coverage and in making plays on the ball while playing a deep safety.

He’s an intriguing talent worth watching.
Projected: Middle rounds

Darnell Savage, Maryland, 5-11, 191
Savage is on the North squad during Senior Bowl week, and will have no problem flashing athleticism. He has that in spades. He has to show good decision making playing deep, an issue when he was at school.

He can be a heavy hitter as well, but has to show restraint at times to make a proper play over a spectacular one.
Projected: Middle rounds

There are two safeties from the 49ers’ South squad worth keep an eye on, as talents who could go higher in the draft:

Juan Thornhill, Virginia, 6-1, 195
This high IQ safety plays disciplined and smart football, which helped him collect six interceptions and seven passes defensed in 2018. He has experience playing cornerback as well, and can be versatile weapon.

His media draft evaluations vary, but the Raiders will get to see him up close at the Senior Bowl.
Projected: Early, middle rounds

Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State 6-0, 210 pounds
He’s more of an enforcer than an attractive deep safety. He is solid playing in the box, but might be a bit too close to Joseph’s skill set to draw strong interest unless the Raiders are looking for an upgrade there.
Projected: Early, iddle rounds

Marshawn Lynch responds to President Donald Trump calling him unpatriotic

Marshawn Lynch responds to President Donald Trump calling him unpatriotic

Marshawn Lynch is a man of few words.

Nothing seems to faze the Oakland native, but when he does speak up, he lets you know exactly how he feels.

The Raiders running back recently was a guest on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, and when asked about President Donald Trump calling him unpatriotic for sitting during the playing of the national anthem, Lynch had quite the response.

"I mean, you know, that motha----er say a lot of s---," Lynch said. "At the end of the day, you called me unpatriotic, but if you know me, you know you come to my neighborhood where I’m from, and you know you’ll see me take the shirt off my back and give it to someone in less need. What would you call that?”

In November 2017, Trump went on a Twitter rant calling for the NFL to suspend Lynch for the rest of the season. This is the first time Lynch has publicly responded to such comments. 

Lynch grew up in Oakland and was a star at Oakland Technical High School before attending Cal and becoming a first-round draft pick in the NFL. He signed with the Raiders before the 2017 season, and consistently has been a champion in his community with charitable works. 

He also spoke on the issues of gentrification in Oakland and how he's helped with the problem. 

"I've been a witness of it since I was a small jitterbug," Lynch said. "Now that I've grown up and I'm seeing it and I understand it a little more." 

Maher then asked Lynch what he's been doing for Oakland to resolve gentrification to make sure African-Americans aren't being kicked out of neighborhoods they have been in for years. 

"With bangin' my head against people, I had the opportunity to make a couple dollars," he said with a laugh. "So therefore I started buying some real estate in the area I grew up at in order to give people opportunity for housing." 

Lynch will become a free agent in March. It's unknown if he'll continue playing football, but what we do know is he'll always be a man of the people in Oakland.