Raiders Decide Punter Battle, Waive Johnny Townsend

NAPA – The Raiders punter competition is over, not long after it began.

The Silver and Black waived Johnny Townsend on Tuesday afternoon, while making minor transactions on the bottom of the roster.

Last year's fifth-round NFL draft pick didn't last long despite his relatively high selection, following an underwhelming rookie season with a lackluster start to training camp.

Undrafted rookie A.J. Cole outshined him at most every stage, including Saturday's preseason opener against the L.A. Rams. Cole puts a pair inside the opposing 20-yard line, one inside the 10, and didn't allow a single punt to be returned. He also proved competent on kickoffs, another point going to the N.C. State alum.

Townsend came in with a reputation for accurate directional punting, but he wasn't able to pin opponents back regularly enough and couldn't show great distance when it was required.

"He put on an orbital display the other day against the Rams [in joint practices last week]," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Saturday night. "We haven't seen kicks like that since [Shane] Lechler was here or [Marquette] King. He has a live leg and it looks like he can directional punt and hold, so Townsend has his hands full."

Townsend wasn't given another shot to respond, leaving Cole as the guy moving forward.

Townsend and cornerback Hamp Cheevers were waived on Tuesday to create space for defensive backs Makinton Dorleant and Joshua Holsey.

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