Ok, it’s June and we’re all eager for the return of the Raiders and the NFL. We start our look at Las Vegas Raiders position battles with the position at the top of everyone’s list: kicker and ask if Daniel Carlson will win out.
One of the most interesting but not often talked about position battles for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into training camp is the battle of the kickers, Daniel Carlson and Dominik Eberle.
Daniel Carlson made his way to the Raiders after a poor start to his rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings where he was cut after week two of the 2018 season. Once a member of the Silver and Black, Carlson appeared to be a new man with a clean slate as he finished the season making 16 of 17 attempts. Furthermore, Carlson displayed some of what Raider Nation had grown accustomed to seeing during the days of Sebastian Janikowski by nailing all three of his attempts from 50-plus yards out.
With his solid finish to a rookie campaign that had a rocky start, Carlson earned his spot for the 2019 season. In year two, Carlson was off to a good start as he made six of his seven attempts from weeks 1-7. However, in the final nine games of the season, Carlson converted on just 13 of 19 attempts for a 68.4 percentage. The rough end to the season for Carlson prompted Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock to bring in some competition by signing undrafted rookie free agent Dominik Eberle.
During his senior season for the Utah State Aggies, Eberle enjoyed a highly successful year making 21 of his 24 attempts. His 87.5 field goal percentage as a senior is now the school record. After his final year at Utah State, Eberle was a 2019 Pro Football Focus Honorable Mention All-American and landed 2019 First-Team All-Mountain West honors.
Despite going undrafted, the Raiders soon came calling and have brought in Eberle as a strong form of competition for Daniel Carlson. Educated opinions agree it will take a repeat of how Carlson started his career for him to lose this job. That being said, a strong preseason by Eberle could prove otherwise. The Raiders made a similar move when they parted ways with punter Johnny Townsend for the likes of A.J. Cole a few seasons ago.
What say you Raider Nation, will the team move in a different direction or stick it out with Carlson?