Every December and January, dozens of college football players choose to leave school early for the draft. Few are kickers.
This year’s class of underclassmen entering the draft prematurely includes a kicker. Roberto Aguayo of Florida State has decided to pass up one more year of eligibility for the NFL.
Aguayo already has earned his degree, and he apparently (and likely accurately) believes that nothing that would happen in 2016 would enhance his chances to succeed in the NFL. Combining extra points and field goals, Aguayo is the most accurate kicker in college football history, hitting on 267 of 276 tries.
Those numbers include a perfect 198-for-198 in PAT attempts, and a less-impressive 69-of-78 in field goal tries. (It’s still an 88.46-percent success rate.) He also made 49 of 49 field goals inside 40 yards, an important fact given that the extra point in the NFL currently is a less-than-automatic 33-yard proposition.
The real question is whether he’ll be drafted, and if so how high? Since former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski landed in Oakland via round one in 2000, only four kickers have been drafted higher than the fifth round: Nate Kaeding in 2004 (round four); Mike Nugent in 2005 (round two); Stephen Gostkowski in 2006 (round 4); and Alex Henery in 2011 (round four).
Still, it’s not as if another year of kicking for free would have mattered much for Aguayo. Regardless of where he lands in April, nothing he did at Florida State in 2016 was going to alter his pro prospects at this point.
Unless, of course, he’d broken a leg or torn an ACL, sending his career off the rails and making it difficult if not impossible to ever put it back on course.