A kicker (yes, a kicker) leaves school early for the draft

AP

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.

42 responses to “A kicker (yes, a kicker) leaves school early for the draft

  1. He’s one of literally only a handful of NFL-caliber kickers I saw in college ball all year, and the state of kicking in the NFL this year was as bad as I’ve ever seen. If he doesn’t do anything stupid or get himself hurt, he will be on an NFL roster next season. Good move.

  2. He might as well when his stock is at its highest.
    A missed crucial field goal could have him going undrafted

  3. If he’s already earned his degree, and he is the most accurate kicker in college football history, then it makes sense.

  4. This is the right decision. It’s embarrassing how bad majority of college kickers are. He’s about as automatic as I’ve ever seen in college.

  5. This has been expected as his brother is enrolling early this week and should continue the Aguayo legacy at FSU. He didn’t have a great year from the blocked kick that lost the Georgia Tech game to some intermittent kickoff problems all year, but he will upgrade 90% of the kickers in the league if you bring him in. Good luck to another great Nole.

  6. This isn’t entirely unusual. A punter (Clemson’s Bradley Pinion) declared early last year. I believe the consensus in the PFT comments section was that he was the Michael Jordan of college punters and PFT was stupid for questioning it. He was drafted and was 27th in the league in average punt yardage.

  7. Man, the team of people handing drafting for the Raiders have REALLY come along way since 2000.

    I think they’re one of the best now.

  8. .
    People mocked Belichick for taking Steven Gostkowski at the tail end of round 4 in the 2006 draft. Since then the Patriots placekicking has been bank almost every time. Gostkowski has made a lot of big kicks for the Patriots since then.
    .

  9. The Bills’ scout lives down the street from Doak Campbell, apparently: EJ(didn’t say he was a good scout), Hopkins, O’Leary, K. Williams, Darby.

    I’m sure he’s walked down the street and saw the kid kick.
    Plus Carpenter has been a liability. Get rid of Dan and the kick specialist, Gay- go from 2 kickers to one, open a roster spot AND get an accurate kicker.

    There…that’s all the reasons the Bills WON’T draft Aguayo. Too logical.

  10. Good for him. In fact, I’d like to see the Texans grab him in the later rounds. Houston cut Randy Bullock because he couldn’t make the extra points, then signed Nick Novak who cannot I repeat cannot get a kickoff to the back of the end zone. Every time he kicks off I have this sinking feeling that this is going to be the runback for a touchdown.

  11. Why not? He has as good of a shot as anybody, considering that Jacksonville, Buffalo and Arizona combined for 18 PAT misses this season (one-fourth of missed PAT’s in the entire league)

  12. Bears in the 6th if he lasts that long. Robbie Gould had just enough key misses this year that it’s time to at least start looking at other options.

  13. Aguayo is the best kicker to come out of college in a long, long time. He has his degree, this decision is a no-brainer, he will be drafted. He has been automatic. Barring injury, he will go no later than the fourth round, and a team wanting to shore up that spot up for years could shoot him much higher.

  14. How do you leave school early if you have already completed your degree? There is no standard of completing your degree. A study was recently conducted that indicated the average time to complete a “4 year degree” was now 6 years and 4 months for all students and for students entering college within a year of high school graduation, 5 years and 10 months.

    Now, let’s say a nurse enters a 4 year nursing program and completes her program in 3 years. Is he/she supposed to return to school or use their degree and find work?

    While I understand the rules concerning when a player can join the NFL, the “early” entry does not make any sense to point out and shouldn’t be part of the evaluation process. A prospect who attended school for 5 years v. one that attended 3 years does not change whether that player is mature enough to handle what a NFL life will bring. It also does not imply that a 5 year college athlete will be more skilled than the 3 year athlete.

    A better measure would be evaluating athletes that have spent 4 years in school and lack a degree, though there can be legitimate reasons for that too.

  15. He’s not leaving early if he already has his degree, he’s leaving when he should. What’s he supposed to do, pretend he’s in college and take meaningless classes so he can play sports and not get paid, while the school makes millions off him? Oh I forgot that’s what most college football players do every year. What a scam.

  16. You could do worse with a fourth round draft pick than potentially grab the team’s top scorer for the next decade.

  17. Since he actually took advantage of his opportunity for free education and earned a degree, then I say, “good for him”. Too many players are only in school for athletics and not so much the school part.

  18. Have you seen this guy kick? Big Nole fan here, he is as automatic as they come. Aguayo is obe of the best kickers in college football history, this was a no brainer before the season even started! The article makes it sound like he is making a mistake by coming out.

  19. That was a hell of a play, and I never saw anything like it before. Did he practice that or was it just luck?

    ————————–
    MichaelEdits says:
    Jan 6, 2016 11:31 AM
    Can he strip the ball like Mason Crosby?

  20. Nothing wrong with taking a kicker high if you think they can last 15 years. The Lions got 30 years out of Murray/Hanson, the Patriots 20 out of Vinateri/Gotkowski and the Chiefs went Stenerud/Lowery. If the Bears decide the time is now to replace Gould, they need to go for it.

  21. The thing with spending a draft pick on this guy is, you have basically committed to cutting ties with whoever your incumbent is when you do that. He’s too good to park on a practice squad and while NFL teams have been known to carry two kickers, it happens very rarely and the opportunity cost of doing that is huge.

  22. His life is gonna prob be awesome.

    I always refer to Jason Hanson. He was with the same team his entire career, made more money than the vast majority of people, didn’t have to move his family around, and prob was still able to see movies without getting mobbed.

    Plus, he actually has a degree which leads me to believe he isn’t a complete idiot who will go broke.

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