Did Bucs put too much pressure on Aguayo?

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After the Buccaneers surprised everyone by taking a kicker with the 59th overall pick in the draft, G.M. Jason Licht explained the move by heaping superlatives on the player.

“I was very excited along with my staff and coaches about Roberto for a very long time,” Licht told PFT Live in May 2016. “It’s not often that you go into draft meetings or into a school visit and you come back and in fact I remember coming back. I made a visit to Florida State along with several other schools this year, like we always do, but came back and my wife she always asks, ‘Who did you like?’ And I said, ‘I like this Aguayo guy.’ And she was shocked. Because I had never talked about a kicker before. . . .

“He’s the best kicker I’ve ever seen coming out of college. . . . With the importance of special teams in this league is paramount and we talk about that all the time. So why not take who you think is the best kicker you’ve ever seen just to sure that up?”

Here’s why not. Because doing the unconventional thing and failing is the clearest path to widespread scrutiny.

Yes, it’s good that the Bucs admitted their mistake. But it was a pretty big mistake, perhaps exacerbated by the over-the-top faith that the team put in Aguayo, both by making him a second-round pick and then declaring to the world how great he had been, and in turn how great he would be.

Much was made of the fact that Aguayo had never missed a kick inside of 40 yards. Maybe too much, because something got inside Aguayo’s head, keeping him from replicating what he did in college.

There’s going to be critics everywhere, you know?” Aguayo told PFT Live in the days after he was drafted, regarding those questioning his status as a top-60 pick. “I think the Buccaneers and the coaching staff here made the right decision. I think you’re just going have to wait until the season gets here. I mean kickers, I think, they score points so they’re an offensive weapon and as we can see with the extra point moving back to 33 yards you know it’s gonna change the game. I think in the future that there’s going to be a lot more draft picks used on good kickers, and I think the kickers are gonna change the game.”

Aguayo’s experience could mean that fewer draft picks will be used on good kickers, because adding that extra potential for criticism could be the thing that causes a player who typically establishes himself in anonymity to never really find his groove, especially in light of the far more intense coverage and scrutiny in the 17 years since Sebastian Janikowski arrived in Oakland as a first-round pick.

15 responses to “Did Bucs put too much pressure on Aguayo?

  1. I dont think they did. This kid was money in college. Probably the best college kicker ever, so his draft pedigree wasn’t surprising. Whats surprising is how bad he is in the pros. Who knows what the problem was.

  2. You can get a perfectly good kicker in the late rounds or, even better, find a proven free agent kicker who some team doesn’t want to give a pay raise to. There is no reason to draft a kicker high. Ever.

  3. Belichick got unrelenting annual criticism from the Boston media for drafting his kicker Gostkowski and basically everyone else he ever drafted or traded for. If a GM doesn’t have the guts to ignore armchair media experts, the team is going nowhere. Everybody misses on some, you move on.

  4. Funny how some kickers just fold in the NFL after great college careers.
    Aguayo was 3x 1st team all american, never missed within 40 yards & 3rd all time in FG% in college.
    Alex Henerey left as NCAA all time leader in FG% (now #2) & he washed out even though he hit for 82% in the pros (he rarely would even attempt a 50 plus yarder even indoors in DET)
    #1 is some guy named Brett Baer.
    The highest guy with a recognizable name might be “Cobra” Kai Forbath at 14 & he’s mainly know for his nickname.

  5. .
    Are we going to get multiple daily updates on Nick Folk? Let’s hope that Aguayo wasn’t singled out for scrutiny because he’s of Mexican descent. I’ve never seen one kicker put under a microscope like Aguayo. I’ve never seen another post that referenced missed FGs in practice.

  6. He clearly couldn’t live up his draft status and his play was so wildly inconsistent (mostly mediocre to poor) that he wouldn’t have survived as long as he did if he was an undrafted free agent.

    The Bucs took a chance and it didn’t work out and they moved on from their mistake instead of letting it linger into the season. On to the next one.

  7. Bucs fans booed this guy in training camp last year. They are responsible for any shaken confidence too. Booing a rookie in training camp is never going to help anything.

  8. If he let what everyone said to get to him then maybe being a player in the NFL isn’t for him.

  9. It is very different kicking exclusively in the South in college then it is in the NFL in places like The Meadowlands, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Weather, wind, temperature and pressure.

  10. Would everyone agree that Sebastian Janikowski was a wasted first round pick? Yes he’s had a long career, but he’s only made the pro bowl once?

    Was drafting him that high Chucky’s decision?

  11. If I’m not mistaken, I believe handling pressure is the number one quality required of an NFL kicker.

  12. Would everyone agree that Sebastian Janikowski was a wasted first round pick? Yes he’s had a long career, but he’s only made the pro bowl once?

    Janikowski – 24th active FG% (80.38)
    Mason Crosby – 25th active FG% (80.36)

    Crosby was a 6th rounder. Sea Bass a 1st.

    Only 28 kickers qualify based on number of attempts.. 1 is currently not on a roster.. so only 2 active kickers are technically worse than those 2 guys.

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