Updated: Sep 21, 2018
In a fantastic start to his NFL career, the Oakland Raiders have picked punter Johnny Townsend to join the Raider family. Townsend was the 36th pick in Round 5 of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was surrounded by family when he accepted the call from Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden, Special Team Coordinator Rich Bisaccia, and General Manager Reggie McKenzie.
I love the kid. I know his little brother, who was a roommate to my son in Tennessee before he transferred back to Florida to be with his brother. I know the family really well. I know what he’s made of.Johnny is excited to start his NFL career in Oakland. He does a great job with directional punts. He’s a great holder, great athlete. I think he has a lot of intangibles to be one of the best punters in years to come. - General Manager Reggie McKenzie
After the release of Marquette King during the off-season, the Raiders needed to fill the punter position. Townsend was questioned by reporters about the Raiders' history at the position. "I do, I do and it’s pretty unbelievable. With [Shane] Lechler and Marquette [King], you guys have an unbelievable history with punters so I got some big shoes to fill when I step up in there," Townsend said during a media conference call.
Johnny Townsend is coming off an impressive 2017 season, totaling 3,043 yards on 64 punts. He averaged 47.5 yards per punt, made 27 punts of at least 50 yards, and 27 punts inside the 20-yard line. He earned First Team All-SEC honors by the AP and Second Team All-SEC honors by the Associated Press and the league's coaches. Townsend was also named a Second Team All-American by CBS Sports, AP, Sporting News and SB Nation.