Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht took some heat for trading into the second round to take a kicker.
But part of the reason Licht didn’t mind is that he thought Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo was a first-round talent. Then again, Licht’s confident in his drafts as a whole, as he thinks he ended up with three first-rounders this year and seven the last two years.
In an interview with Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report, Licht explained that they had first-round grades on not just cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, but defensive end Noah Spence and Aguayo as well. Coupled with four players from last year’s draft he had rated that highly (quarterback Jameis Winston, left tackle Donovan Smith, guard Ali Marpet and linebacker Kwon Alexander), the Bucs think they struck it rich.
“We think we got four last year,” Licht said. “That’s the goal – to get multiple first-round draft picks each year. When it’s all said done, to look back and say, ‘We got multiple first-round picks in this draft’ – that was the goal.”
Of course, it’s possible that Licht just values the guys he chooses differently than others. But of the lot of them, the one that would raise the most eyebrows is Aguayo, not because he’s a bad kicker, but because he’s a kicker and they traded up to get him.
By picking up an extra fourth-rounder by trading down with the Bears, the Bucs had the ammunition to make the move for the Florida State kicker. And even though he got what he thought was a first-rounder with last year’s fourth, not everyone is so successful, and Licht pointed to those numbers.
“In the 2005-15 drafts in the fourth rounds, there were 390 players drafted in the fourth round,” Licht said. “Twenty percent of those went on to become starters or Darren Sproles-type players. I consider Sproles as a starter even though he doesn’t really start. He’s a key player. Thirty-seven percent are career backups like Louis Murphy.
“Forty-three percent are out of the league, and 27 percent of those never logged a game in the NFL. You have a better chance of getting a guy in the fourth round that is never going to see a game than you do to get a starter.”
If you go by that logic, his move makes a degree of sense, but it’s clear that the Bucs were also trusting their guts on this one. When they’re all first-round talents, you might as well.