For the past 12 seasons, the Raiders have had the best punter in all of football - Shane Lechler. That era is now over and it is time for the Raiders to find his replacement. This week they added competition to the mix for that position with the signing of undrafted free agent, Bobby Cowan out of Idaho.
With Lechler around, each punter the Raiders brought in for camp was simply a "camp leg" hoping to audition for other teams around the league. That is no longer the case.
Since last off-season, the Raiders have had Marquette King waiting in the wings to inherit the punting job but the converted wide receiver still must earn that job and Bobby Cowan is the guy with whom he must compete.
Cowan spent four seasons at Idaho, becoming the school's all-time leading punter with a 44.7 yards per punt average. He got a great deal of work with the Vandals. His best season came as a junior when he punted 88 times, averaging 46.4 yards per punt, 27 fair catches, and 17 inside the 20-yard line including punts of 76 and 71 yards. That season made him a Ray Guy award semi-finalist. He saw his stats dip as a senior, when he averaged 43.1 yards on 70 punts.
He has a lot of similarities to Shane Lechler, in fact. Both played quarterback and punter in high school. Cowan was an All-State punter for three seasons and All-state quarterback his sophomore and a senior season at Evergreen High School in Vancouver Washington.
Lechler was not a small man - he was 6-2, 225-and Cowan is around the same weight but two inches taller.
Marquette King has been working hard to refine his craft all year in the hopes of winning the Raiders punting job. Cowan will give him all he can handle in competition and with his experience as a quarterback, Cowan may have a leg up (so to speak) because he has the ability to execute a pass play on a trick punt or as the holder on a fake field goal.
King knew competition for the job was coming. That competition has arrived. May the best leg win.