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Sebastian Janikowski has gone through cold streaks before. In fact, a dismal 2013 season where he converted just 70 percent of his field goals isn’t even his worst as a professional.
He missed nine attempts in 30 tries last year. In 2005, he missed 10 in as many attempts. But Raiders fans have been spoiled in recent seasons, when Janikowski has been near perfect inside 50 yards.
Last year’s dip in production was magnified by a contract extension and advanced age for the 36 year old.
Janikowski has corrected issues in the past, and there’s little reason to believe he can’t do so again in 2014. While the Al Davis-led Raiders have used high picks on specialists -– Janikowski was a first-rounder in 2000; Ray Guy was a first-rounder in 1973 -– these Raiders don’t want or need to use any draft pick, regardless of round, on a specialist.
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Who's here: K Sebastian Janikowski, P Marquette King, P Daniel Zychlinski, LS Jon Condo
Draft needs: King is solidified as the punter, and Zychlinski was already signed as a camp option. Condo will be the long snapper and it’s highly doubtful Janikowski’s competition will come from the draft.
Good fits: The Raiders are expected to sign another kicker to help Janikowski get through camp without taxing himself. That player could make kicking a real competition, though it’s highly unlikely coming from a young player.
If the Raiders chose youth over the veteran route, NFLdraftscout.com suggests Tulane’s Cairo Santos, Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien and Boston College’s Nate Freese as possible options in the seventh round or as undrafted free agents.