Jim Owczarski and Olivia Reiner discuss whether the Packers would look for Mason Crosby's future replacement in this year's draft. Packers News
Last in a 10-part Packers draft position-preview series: Specialists.
GREEN BAY - In his first draft, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted punter JK Scott and long snapper Hunter Bradley to solidify two key special teams spots for years to come.
Both had their moments — but also some inconsistency — as rookies. But they seem to be the players at those positions going forward. The same can be said for veteran kicker Mason Crosby, whom Gutekunst expressed confidence in at the combine.
Gutekunst said he didn’t feel it would be necessary to provide competition for Crosby in training camp, but would examine it if the right player was available.
The Packers last week signed former Rams kicker Sam Ficken. It seems unlikely the GM would use a draft pick on a placekicker, but Crosby will be 35 this season and is in the final year of his contract.
Priority level: Low.
Spenser Thompson-Meyers, St. Norbert
The good: Two-time Division III All-American well-versed in kicking in Wisconsin weather. Went 13-for-18 on field goals and 40-for-50 on extra points in 2018. Had 54 touchbacks the last two seasons.
The bad: Would the stage be too big? Has attempted only a few field goals of over 50 yards, but he did make one from 55 yards. Hasn’t attempted more than 17 field goals the last two seasons.
Cole Tracy, LSU
The good: Began at Division II and finished career in the SEC and earned second-team All-American honors. Made all of his extra points (42) and was 29-for-33 on field goals for the Tigers.
The bad: Did not kick off for LSU. Concerns over leg strength are there, including on deep field goal tries.
Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota
The good: Kicked outdoors for three years. Missed one extra point in his career. Has decent leg strength and has been accurate from 40-plus yards (8-for-8, 2-for-2 beyond 50).
The bad: Field goal conversion percentage declined from 91.7% in 2016 to 70% in 2017 and 73.9% last season.
As a first-year general manager in 2018, Gutekunst used two of his 11 draft picks on specialists, which means he’s unafraid to take the best player available. Scott was the first punter the club drafted since 2004. The Packers have not drafted a kicker since taking Crosby in the sixth round (No. 193) in 2007.
Recent draft history
Year, Round, Overall: Player, School
2018, 5b, 172 overall: JK Scott, Alabama
2018, 7b, 239 overall: Hunter Bradley, Mississippi State
A glance at what year the Packers players at the position are signed through and their age on opening day:
Mason Crosby (35)
Hunter Bradley (25)
JK Scott (22)