Roberto Aguayo set kicking back half a century

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Younger fans of the NFL might not realize the extent to which kicking has improved through the years. Field goals that seem relatively easy today were a long shot in the 1970s.

To illustrate that, I tweeted yesterday comparing the success rate on field goals last season to the success rate in 1974, the first year that the NFL moved the goal posts back from the goal line to the end line. It’s a stunning difference.

In 2016, NFL kickers went a combined 85-for-150 (57 percent) on field goals from 50 yards and beyond. In 1974, NFL kickers went a combined 4-for-30 (13 percent) from 50 yards and beyond.

After tweeting that, I heard from a couple readers who joked that all Roberto Aguayo would have to do to be a good kicker is build a time machine and go back to 1974. But there’s one problem with that: Even by 1974 standards, Aguayo wouldn’t have been a good kicker. Aguayo, the 2016 second-round draft bust cut by the Buccaneers over the weekend, didn’t make any 50-yard field goals during his disastrous year with the Bucs. And even on field goals of 40 to 49 yards, he was worse than the average kicker of 1974: Aguayo went 4-for-10 (40 percent) from 40 to 49 yards, while NFL kickers as a whole went 75-for-169 (44 percent) from 40 to 49 yards.

If you go back half a century, to the 1966 NFL season, you can finally find a time when Aguayo might have been a decent kicker: That year, NFL kickers as a whole went 35-for-102 (34 percent) from 40 to 49 yards, and 1-for-17 (6 percent) on field goals from 50 yards and beyond.

When the Buccaneers traded up in the second round of the draft to select Aguayo, they thought they were getting a future star. They were actually getting a kicker who wouldn’t even have been a star in the distant past.

38 responses to “Roberto Aguayo set kicking back half a century

  1. Good write-up MDS. Aguayo is going to get eaten alive in Chicago in the next couple of weeks. I don’t think anyone actually expects him to make the team though, he’ll end up getting cut. Would be entertaining to see him try and kick a 45 yarder in the December snow though.

  2. wow, Agueyo is getting killed. No one even bats an eye lid at all the other players in rounds 2,3,4 who are out of the NFL because they aren’t any good. No wonder is brain is frazzled.

  3. When the Buccaneers traded up in the second round of the draft to select Aguayo, they thought they were getting a future star. They were actually getting a kicker who wouldn’t even have been a star in the distant past.

    Since when are kickers stars?

  4. When do the best kickers in college ever become the best kickers in the NFL? The NFL has a pretty long list of high draft pick kickers that were busts. Probably a higher bust rate than QBs. Maybe spend a 6th or 7th on one…or better yet bring in an established FA.

  5. I would argue that every placekicker the Panthers have ever employed not named John Kasay also set kicking back 50 years.

  6. The title is a little harsh and misleading. To date the kid hasn’t overcome the mental pressure of the NFL and might not ever. Setting kicking back half a century – no so much. NFL kicking is still performing at a high level. Just kicking the kicker while he is down. Take a higher road and Let-it-go.

  7. Man as soon as he feels that Chicago wind blow the shakes will start. But enough about the kid, what is going to happen to that tool back gm who not only blew a 2nd rounder on him but traded up in the 2nd round to do it? That guy should’ve been on the plane with Roberto.

  8. So what does that say about the Bears then since they just signed this guy? Are they going to have a 1966 offense this year?

  9. Kicking like a guy from the 70s is not the same thing as “setting [the craft of] kicking back forty years.”

    But hey…hyperbole is part of the age we live in, isn’t it?

  10. Craziest thing about drafting him that high was his lack of range. He never made a 50-yarder in college, either. So, you had a really accurate college kicker entering the NFL where ALL kickers are really accurate plus have greater range than this kid did. How were the Bucs ever going to come out ahead? Even if he’d proven to be more accurate than most NFL kickers he still wasn’t going to win them games with long last-second kicks which is what you really are wanting out of your kicker. At least with a Janikowski sort of guy you could argue there’d be more opportunities than most kickers give you because of him having such a big leg.

  11. Kicking is kind of a crap shoot. I remember when Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf drafted a kicker from Penn State in the 3rd round, and he was beat out by a free agent, Ryan Longwell, who was a pretty good kicker.

  12. Blame the Bucs, not Aguayo. He didn’t trade up to draft himself.

    That pick reminded me of a fantasy football draft years back where a first-time player came in and drafted Seattle kicker Todd Peterson with his first round pick. He didn’t know any better and picked the player with the most fantasy points from the year before. That’s how I saw the Aguayo trade and pick: like a first-time fantasy football player would do. NOT an NFL GM.

  13. Doubt he’ll win out in Chicago and he clearly fell on his face in tampa but hope the kid gets his stuff together and makes it somewhere. Like the fact he isn’t making excuses for himself.

  14. Bears claim him. Somehow I think the Windy City in Soldier field might not be a great place to resurrect his career.

    But good luck.

  15. Kicker is the 2nd most important position on any football team. Full stop. After the quarterback. Its true statistically. The kicker is the leading scorer in almost all football games. Look at a box score. 4 field goals and 5 extra points in a 47-40 win is 17 points scored just from the kicker. Kickers are depended on constantly for high-pressure dramatic game-tying or game winning kicks. Kickers affect field position too with kickoffs, punts(a punter is a type of kicker in the kicking game), safety free kicks, To say that kickers are not stars is Not credible. Sebastian Janikowski is a star. Mason Crosby is a star. Adam Vinatieri is a star. Justin Tucker is a star. I would draft a kicker 1st overall in the 1st round of the draft if I knew he was going to be a future Mason Crosby or Adam Vinatieri. Straight. Mason Crosby won the Packers playoff game at Dallas last season with 2 50+ yard field goals in the last 2 minutes of that game.

  16. LOL.
    Since when are kickers stars?

    Seabass is revered by Raider Nation – beat you on the field, in the parking lot and party you to sleep.

  17. Like a golfer who loses part of his game inexplicably, this kid needs to decompress for a year while being mentally reprogrammed through visualization and positive reinforcement by a professional motivational guru. His slate must be wiped clean before he can make progress cuz I doubt it can be accomplished on the fly. And yes, it’s worth the reclamation effort considering how deadly he was at FSU.

  18. He should try kicking straight on with a steel toe boot like they did in the 60s. In those days, a lot of kickers even played other positions. Some even played on the defensive line.

  19. The weird thing is he was not a great kicker in college – it’s not like he was booting 65-yarders in college but failed as a pro – why exactly did they think he would be great?

  20. Since when are kickers stars? They really haven’t….

    BUT, imagine if the Browns, Rams, Bucs, Jags could get a kicker that is accurate from long distances…. That kicker would be a star!

  21. Maybe a change mentally is all Aguayo needed? Or maybe the whipping winds and harsh conditions of Chicago will benefit his kicks? All I do know is that I am rooting for him to succeed… the NFL could use a feel good story with all of the girlfriend abuse, PED taking and football deflating going on in this league.

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