Packers Go To Italy for Kicker

Crosby (Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images)

Giorgio Tavecchio, who made 75.0 percent of his field goals at Cal, was the 23rd-ranked kicker in the 2012 draft.

According to a report out of Italy, the Green Bay Packers have signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.

That the Packers signed a challenger to Mason Crosby is anything but a surprise, with Crosby hitting just 21-of-33 field-goal attempts in 2012. Coach Mike McCarthy last week said the Packers would bring in a challenger, confirming what a source had told Packer Report the week before.

This, however, is a surprising signing. The left-footed Tavecchio, a native of Milan, Italy, was the 23rd-ranked kicker in last year's draft. He signed with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent and was beaten out by veteran David Akers.

It was a fortunate landing spot for the former Cal walk-on. When Tavecchio started watching the NFL, he immediately took notice of the left-footed Akers, who at that time was kicking with Philadelphia. Akers called Tavecchio his "Mini-Me."

At Cal, Tavecchio converted 48-of-64 field goals (75.0 percent) and 112-of-120 extra points (93.3 percent). During the preseason with the 49ers, he made his only field-goal attempt (29 yards) and both extra points. Six of his 12 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

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