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2013 NFL Draft: Are the Packers Still Eyeing a Kicker?

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APC's newest author addresses why the Packers should still look at selecting a kicker in next week's draft.

Andy Lyons

Many Green Bay Packers fans have been asking the same question for the past few seasons: when are the Packers going to replace Mason Crosby?

Crosby has struggled as the Packers kicker for the majority of his career in Green Bay. In his seven years as the Packers kicker Crosby is 152 out of 198 for a career kicking percentage of 76.8 percent. Not exactly getting the job done. In 2012 Crosby had a kicking percentage of 52.9 in road games(9 for 17) and made just two kicks over 50 yards (2 for 9).

Crosby's career field goal percentage (76) is 55th in NFL history, trailing kickers such as Bill Gramatica, Nick Folk and Cary Blanchard, not company a NFL place kicker wants to be in.

The Packers refused to bring in a replacement for Crosby during the season and allowed him to figure it out on his own, which he never did. This offseason the Packers turned to free agency to address its need at kicker by signing Giorgio Tavecchio, who backed up David Akers in San Francisco.

I was very skeptical of this signing for a number of reasons.

First, I thought, "is a kicker that couldn't even beat out Akers last season, going to be able to challenge Crosby?" The answer is no. The Packers obviously have every intention of sticking with Crosby, and if they didn't they would've brought in a better kicker than Tavecchio.

Second, by signing Tavecchio, are the Packers not going to take a kicker in the draft? It would be foolish for the Packers to not select a kicker in the draft. This draft is full of potential Pro Bowl kickers such as Caleb Sturgis from Florida and Brett Maher from Nebraska.

Both Sturgis and Maher have tremendous leg strength, like Crosby, however, they both appear to be more accurate kickers than Crosby. Sturgis was 24-28 in his senior season at Florida, which is just over 85 percent. He was 3 for 3 in kicks over 50 yards. In his junior season Sturgis was 22 for 26, good for 84.6 percent. Sturgis suffered a back injury in 2010 that cost him most of that season, but in the two seasons since then Sturgis is 46 for 56. Sturgis would be a great pick for the Packers in the sixth or seventh round.

Maher on the other hand was just as good as Sturgis. The most impressive thing about Maher was that he was named a team captain at Nebraska and for a kicker that is a very high honor. It shows what his teammates think about him and how good of a player he must be to be named a captain as a kicker.

In his senior season for the Cornhuskers, Maher had a bit of a down year converting on 20 of 27 field goals for just 74 percent, however in his junior season he was 19 for 23, 83 percent. Maher has a strong leg, which would also be a weapon in the kickoff game. Maher, like Sturgis, should be available for the Packers in the sixth or seventh round.

I think it would be foolish for the Packers to pass on both Maher and Sturgis. On the flip side, it would be difficult to see the Packers bring in three kickers for training camp, as the reps would be hard to divide up.

All in all, an upgrade is needed at the kicker position in Green Bay, but are the Packers content with Crosby and Tavecchio or will they address the need in the draft? We will find out soon, as the draft is just a week and a half away.

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