Standout kickers pique Packers’ curiosity


Mason Crosby is not only the most accomplished kicker in Green Bay Packers history, but he’s also one of the most decorated kickers in NFL history.

Crosby is the Packers’ all-time leading scorer with 1,918 points and ranks 11th all-time in NFL history. Whether Crosby will continue ascending the all-time list remains to be seen.

That’s because Crosby’s future with the Packers, and perhaps even in the NFL, is in doubt these days. Crosby is a free agent and there’s no assurances the Packers will bring him back for another season, especially considering their salary cap issues.

Crosby, who turns 39 on Sept. 3, is coming off a quality season. He converted on 25 of 29 field goal attempts last season. He had only one errant kick inside 50 yards.

But Crosby was only 1 of 40 beyond 50 yards, and he had all sorts of issues with his kickoffs. Crosby’s distance and hang times were the worst in the league.

Crosby entered last season coming off knee surgery and some observers contend that may have affected his kickoffs. Whether the Packers brass concurs should be known during the upcoming NFL draft, which commences on April 27.

The Packers have a whopping 10 draft picks and are almost certain to acquire at least one more in the impending Aaron Rodgers trade to the New York Jets.

Among the Packers picks are two in the fifth round and four in the seventh round. The Packers could conceivably use one of them to select Jake Moody of Michigan or Chad Ryland of Maryland, generally regarded as the two best kickers in the draft.

At last month’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and then at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Moody and Ryland told me they had conversations with the Packers.

Ryland (pictured above) missed only two of 32 field-goal attempts inside the 40-yard line in the last three seasons and was perfect on nine attempts last season. He converted on 104 of 106 point-after kicks in his college career.

Moody has missed seven of 117 field-goal attempts from inside the 40 the last three seasons. He never missed an extra point kick in 125 attempts in his college career.

Moody, according to some NFL scouts, staged a kicking clinic at his recent Pro Day He made 12 of 13 field-goal attempts, with his only miss coming from 57 yards.

Ryland, who played four seasons at Eastern Michigan before transferring to Maryland, also acquitted himself well at his Pro Day, according to two NFL officials. His Pro Day stats weren’t released.

Dallas, Tennessee, New England and Green Bay are among several teams that have more than a passing interest in him.

The Packers and Crosby could still work out an agreement, but if they don’t, the Packers will at least have some viable candidates in the draft to replace him.