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Jon Gruden said Raiders nearly drafted kicker Eddy Pineiro, paid big money to land undrafted free agent

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Sure sounds like Eddy Pineiro has leg up on Raiders kicker job

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a competition going on at kicker in Oakland. It’s between second year kicker Giorgio Tavecchio and undrafted rookie Eddy Pineiro. Even though Taveccio is the incumbent, from the sounds of it, it could be Pineiro’s job to lose.

“When you talk about Eddy Pineiro, he hasn’t missed a field goal,” Jon Gruden said Wednesday via conference call with season ticket holders. “We watched him kick today and he made every one.

“The holder is Johnny Townsend, by the way, who is also a Florida Gator punter who held for him in college. We felt Eddy was so good we were going to draft him in the 7th round. That’s how much we thought of this kid. We paid a lot of money to him to get him as an undrafted free agent. And he and Tavecchio are going to have a great battle in training camp.”

One thing we’ve learned about Gruden in his few months back with the Raiders is he is honest in his enthusiasm about certain players. When he talks up a guy, it isn’t just lip service. And when he isn’t excited about a player, that speaks volumes as well.

Pineiro has the bonafides. As noted in our scouting report on him following his addition to the team, he was the nation’s most accurate field goal kicker in 2017, making 17 of his 18 kicks (94.4%), including all five of his attempts outside 50 yards. He is also the most accurate kicker in Florida history, making 88.4 percent of his field goal attempts,

Complicating things with this battle Pineiro and Tavecchio are supposedly going to have in camp is the fact that Tavecchio is left footed and Pineiro is right footed.

And with Townsend having been drafted in the 5th round and being a lock to be the Raiders’ punter this season, his connection to Pineiro as his holder in college figures to greatly favor Pineiro.

“When you go back to the holder, the cool thing is we do have Johnny Townsend who is an experienced holder and has a lot of experience holding for Pineiro which is gonna help him tremendously.”

Who is helping Tavecchio ‘tremendously’? It looks like the Raiders kicker job may have already become Eddy Pineiro’s to lose.