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As a Wisconsin Badger, I’m no stranger to players who are in a slump. I lived through QB Joel Stave’s yips, and watched as my all-time favorite player, kicker Kyle French, toe-balled his way to a career 62.1% FG percentage while going 30% from 40+ yards. Why’s Frenchy my fave, you ask? He made kicking great again. Conventional wisdom says that kickers are expected to make their kicks, and with that thought in my head, I started thinking of field goals and PATs as a sure thing. Then Kyle came along and taught me not to take them for granted — by refusing to grant me them time and time again in what was a heat check that I desperately needed. It’s a damn shame he was cut from the team and forced to forgo his senior season, only to be replaced by a trio of kickers including Badgers linebacker and future 49er Chris Borland.
Part of the reason we are taught that kickers are supposed to make their kicks is because of players like Roberto Aguayo. As a Florida State Seminole, Aguayo was nearly unstoppable. He never missed an extra point (he attempted 198), never missed a field goal from within 40 yards (he attempted 46), and went 23/32 from 40+ yards (~72%). Yes, Roberto Aguayo made 267 of the 276 kicks he attempted at FSU, and when your numbers look like that, you become a rare commodity in football — a blue chip kicker prospect. That’s why Aguayo became the first kicker to declare early for the draft since fellow Nole Sebastian Janikowski did it back in 2000.
In a league where special teams wind up being the deciding factor in numerous games each year, many franchises can get caught up in kicker fever come draft time when there’s a hot commodity like Aguayo on the table. There’s a kicker (no pun intended), though. Teams want a good PK, yes, but they don’t want to waste a high draft pick on him when they could get him later. This makes drafting a kicker essentially come down to a game of “who’s willing to take more of the heat that comes with spending a draft pick on a kicker?”
This year’s winner? My hometown team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In a move akin to one your grandmother might make if you added her to your fantasy league because you wanted an even number of teams so that there would be no bye weeks, the Bucs took Roberto Aguayo in the second fucking round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The worst part? They traded up for him. Jesus.
Here’s Bucs GM Jason Licht’s post-second round interview where he talks about Aguayo and the team’s decision to draft a kicker in the second round.
Licht called Aguayo “the best kicker in the history of college football,” then said, “We needed to be bold there, and we were,” and, “If you love a player, you have to go up and get him.” Licht also said “I like the way (Aguayo)’s wired.” I actually like this quote. It serves the purpose of telling the media that they didn’t just draft a kicker in the second round, they drafted this kicker in the second round. You saw something in him that, when compared to his resume, made him worth the risk. Alright, Lichty — I’m convinced. Great pick, my dude.
Now, let’s check in on Roberto Aguayo’s wiring.
From CBS Sports:
This is not how Roberto Aguayo wanted to start his NFL career. The former Florida State standout never missed a kick inside 40 yards during his college but already this preseason he’s honked an extra point and a 32-yard field goal attempt.
Jesus, Aguayo. Pull it together, man! Snap out of it! Do we need to make Raymond James feel more like the Doak so you’ll feel at home? We already have Jameis there with you, but I guess we can drag Red Lightning away from whatever cheap cocaine and/or hookers he’s probably nose deep in right now and hire him to be a ball boy if that’ll help. JUST STOP SUCKING. I doubt Aguayo will get cut, but you never know. If he stays on this path, it’s just not worth it to keep the man around.
Robby, if you need some fundamentals tips, just watch this instructional video:
This is why you never draft a kicker. Not in the second round, not as Mr. Irrelevant — not ever. Undrafted is always the way to go. So if you decide to cut Robby Ags, Mr. Licht, get to thumbing through that undrafted kicker catalog. And, if you like chaos as much as it appears you do, don’t hesitate to stop on “French.”.
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[via CBS Sports]
Image via YouTube