Sebastian Janikowski enjoying a special anniversary


Fifteen years ago this week, the Oakland Raiders stunned the NFL by making kicker Sebastian Janikowski the No. 17 overall draft pick.

Kickers just don’t get picked in the first round. Since 2005, no kicker has been taken before the fourth round. Often, kickers are acquired through undrafted free agency.

While Janikowski is a rarity, he certainly has been and still is a valuable piece for the Raiders. Janikowski, 37, enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2014. He made 19 of 22 field-goal attempts. There was concern after he missed nine field-goal attempts in 2013.

Janikowski is nearly automatic in the range of 40-to-49 yards. It is clear, though, that the patented length of his kicks is no longer a sure thing. Two of his three misses last season came in attempts of 50 yards or longer.

In the past three seasons, Janikowski is 12-for-21 in attempts of 50 yards or longer. But Janikowski is still a viable, reliable piece of Oakland’s offense. The Raiders are happy to pay for him.

Janikowski makes more than $3 million a year. He has three more seasons in his contract. Like all veterans, Janikowski will be evaluated on a yearly basis. But he showed in 2014 that he is still making a contribution a decade-and-a-half after his shocking first-round selection.