Bucs K Roberto Aguayo - Photo by: Florida State
Roberto Aguayo, one of the Buccaneers’ two second-round selections in the 2016 draft, finished his career at Florida State 69-of-78 on field goals (88.5 percent), including 18-of-24 on attempts in the 40-49 range and 5-of-9 from 50 yards and beyond.
But it’s going to take more than those numbers – or his perfect mark on PATs and FGs under 40 yards – to convince doubters that a kicker was worth trading up 15 spots for in the second round, especially for a team that still had needs along the defensive line or at wide receiver.
Bucs fans are now expecting a true weapon at kicker, the kind that can drill a 45-yarder in the rain to win the game as if it were a 25-yard chip shot with clear skies in the first quarter.
Such standards call for a deeper look into the career of one of college football’s all-time greats. Here’s a look at Aguayo’s most critical hits and misses over the last three years – a record of the game-winning or icing attempts, the three-point tries in less than ideal conditions, and the field goals on the highest stages of college football.
2013 – Aguayo’s freshman year didn’t call for too many clutch kicks, as no team came within 14 points of the Jameis Winston-led Seminoles until their 34-31 National Championship win over Auburn. But for a season that saw just one missed field goal – and one that hardly affected the game anyway – and highlights such as a 53-yard make at Syracuse and two 40-yard+ makes against the Gators, it’s hard to argue with Aguayo winning the Lou Groza Award his freshman year, an unprecedented 21-of-22 season.
Highlights from 2013
Week 11 vs. Syracuse – 53-yard field goal in the second quarter to take 38-0 lead (Won 59-3)
Week 13 at Florida – 49-yard and 40-yard field goals in 16mph winds (Won 37-7)
Week 14 vs. Duke – 45-yard field goal in the second quarter to take 17-0 lead in the ACC Championship (Won 45-7)
Week 15 vs. Auburn – 35-yard and 41-yard field goals to go up 3-0 in first quarter and 21-13 in third quarter, respectively, in the National Championship (Won 34-31)
2014 – Aguayo missed two more kicks his sophomore year (27-of-30) than he did the previous year. He also hit more during critical moments on a national stage, though, as the reigning champions and once unstoppable Seminoles looked human in 2014, thus needing a little more help from No. 19.
Highlights from 2014
Week 1 at Oklahoma State – 37-yard field goal to go up 30-24 in the fourth quarter (Won 37-24)
Week 3 vs. Clemson – 50-yard field goal to go up 3-0 in the first quarter (Won 23-17)
Week 5 vs. Wake Forrest – Two field goals from beyond 40 yards (42 and 43) and one from over 50 (52) in a 4-for-4 overall outing (Won 43-3)
Week 9 at Louisville – Missed wide right from 41 yards out, failing to tie the game at 24 a piece in the third quarter (Won 42-31)
Week 10 vs. Virginia – 43-yard field goal in the third quarter to extend lead to 31-20 and a 40-yard field goal one drive later to make it 34-20 (Won 34-20)
Week 11 at Miami – 43-yard field goal in the second quarter to make it a 10-23 game and a 53-yard make in the fourth quarter to make it a 23-26 game (Won 30-26)
Week 12 vs. Boston College – Missed wide left from 40 yards out, failing to break a 17-17 tie in the third quarter. After a missed attempt by BC, Aguayo responded with a 26-yard game-winner in light rain (Won 20-17)
Week 13 vs. Florida – 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to take 24-19 lead and ice the game (Won 24-19)
Week 14 at Georgia Tech – Three consecutive field goals in the third quarter to extend the lead from three to nine in a tight ACC Championship. (Won 37-35)
Week 15 vs. Oregon – 28-yard and 26-yard makes in the first half of the Rose Bowl. Missed off the upright from 43 yards out to end the first half, failing to bring the game within two points en route to FSU’s first loss since 2012 (Lost 59-20)
2015 – It says a lot about a kicker when his worst season is one in which he converted 21-of-26 field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder during his team’s biggest rivalry game – at Florida. But after closing his 2014 season with a bad miss before halftime in the Rose Bowl, Aguayo would certainly like to have a few back from last year, as well.
Highlights from 2015
Week 2 vs. USF – 38-yard field goal in light rain during the fourth quarter (Won 34-14)
Week 3 at Boston College – Missed wide left from 42 yards out, failing to extend lead to 10-0 in the second quarter (Won 14-0)
Week 5 at Wake Forrest – 25-yard field goal in the rain during the third quarter to extent lead to 24-7 (Won 24-16)
Week 6 vs. Miami – Missed 49-yard kick off the upright on the final play of the second quarter, leading 20-10. Made three other field goals, with a long of 32 yards (Won 29-24)
Week 7 vs. Louisville – 43-yard field goal in 9mph winds to open game 3-0 in the first quarter (Won 41-21)
Week 8 at Georgia Tech – 56-yard game-winning attempt blocked and returned 78 yards by Georgia Tech for the game-winning TD, Aguayo’s first blocked kick (Lost 22-16)
Week 13 at Florida – 45-yard field goal in the first quarter to start game 3-0 and later a 51-yard make to extend lead to 13-0 in the third quarter (Won 27-2)
Week 14 vs. Houston – Missed 52-yard field goal, short, failing to break 0-0 tie in the first quarter of the Peach Bowl (Lost 38-24)
Big Game Stats
• 5-for-7 in Bowl Games
• 6-for-6 against the Florida Gators
• 8-for-9 against the Miami Hurricanes
• 7-for-7 against the Clemson Tigers
For some Bucs fans – primarily those who also root for FSU – Aguayo’s brilliance from inside 40 yards and career FG percentage (88.5) is enough to support Tampa Bay’s decision to not only draft a kicker, but give up an extra fourth-round selection to ensure the pick. The majority of critics, however, will need to see the next Adam Vinatieri, a former undrafted signee, or Stephen Gostkowski, a former fourth-round pick, to be convinced that Aguayo was the right pick the second round. That means a supremely clutch kicker, who can connect in any weather, who sends shockwaves through the crowd after a rare miss. It should be noted that Aguayo, a native of Groveland, Florida, has never kicked in sub-50-degree temperatures. That will change once the Bucs play away games in the winter, and the weather will almost certainly dip lower than 50 degrees in a hopeful playoff scenario.
Simply put, the pressure is on this season, and not just for Roberto Aguayo. Once the Bucs have a drive stall around the opposing team’s 40-yard line, and it’s time to send in the rookie kicker for his first field goal attempt, Jason Licht and the front office will receive similar praise or criticism depending on the result of that introductory attempt.
The Bucs GM has never shied away from a risky decision in the past, so long as he believes it will improve the organization and set the team up for long-term success. This move is no different.
“I’m probably not surprised,” Licht said about the outside criticism. “But that will all go away once he’s winning games for us. It’s just so hard to find a great kicker. They come around once a decade, guys like this, in my opinion. So we could do what we had to do, or we could wait another decade. I’d rather do it now.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Let’s also remember that he brings an advantage in the kickoff game with his “mortar kicks” and should help pin opponents inside the 20 more often.
Licht talks about good kickers like they’re freaking leprechauns. Of the current top 10 kickers in career FG%, 7 were undrafted (including 4 of the top 5). And none were taken nearly this high. Kickers are mostly interchangeable. You can find at least a decent one with undrafted players. And the difference between decent and great is marginal. We’re talking about a difference of like 5-8% on FG attempts, which on average will get you less than 7 extra points per season. This whole discussion is absurd.
The ONLY way Aguayo can even come remotely close to justifying the picks used on him would be if he saves the team more than 5 years of field position every time he kicks off, on average. Which is an incredibly tall order. And considering that the NFL has openly said that its new touchback rule is only temporary for now and may be switched back whenever they decide to, there’s a real chance that he won’t have more than one season to save us those yards.
Could not agree more. WE Squandered an opportunity to get a DT in a draft that was deep in them. McCoy is injury prone and if he goes down, it will be a long season. jackson is also only going to be here another year or so. We did not address that either. This organization in their defense has shown to have pretty good skills in the draft as of late, so I will be content to wait and see. Maybe lightning will strike again this year too.
I’d be inclined to agree but they had 5 picks outside of Robert and never once took a D-tackle. Maybe they don’t think it’s a pressing need like the rest of us do.
I disagree that a delta of about 5-8% is marginal. Isn’t the average NFL spread around +3.5? That says to me that the average win in the NFL is by about 3.5 points, so a margin of 7 points would mean about two extra wins per season. If those 7 extra points were spread over a season I would agree with you (making for an extra 0.44 points per game), but those points come in 3 point chunks within a game so the margin means we’re making kicks that our opponent is missing two games a year. I still don’t think he was worth trading up into the 2nd round for, but I thought he would have been worth taking in the 3rd round with our original pick.
Gotta agree with Pink on this one.
Pinkstob, if you could know for absolute certain that the extra 7 points would come in a game that is decided by such a slim margin, then that argument would make sense. But you don’t. You can’t. While the NFL average is a 3.5 margin of victory, that doesn’t mean that most games are actually that tight. Last year, out of 16 games, we had exactly two that were decided by 3 points or less. In 2014, that number was five. The year before that, it was five again.
If in fact Aguayo is going to give us an extra 7 points per year, there’s absolutely no way of pinpointing which games and situations those extra points come in. If we had the magical power to decide that they come in a game that we trail by two with 2.5 minutes left, and we could do that twice per year, then yea, sure, you could maybe justify the pick. The reality, though, is that we’re talking about an average season long difference of 7ish points, with no way to know when those points come.
Think about it this way. There is a strong correlation between points scored and making the playoffs. Last year, 9 of the top 12 teams in scoring made the playoffs. In 2014, it was 8 of 12. The year before, again, 8 of 12. In 2012, it was 10 of 12. I mean, I don’t think I’m presenting any revolutionary ideas when I say that the more points you score, the better your chances of making the playoffs. Fair?
In a league in which teams scores something like 350-400 points per game, what is the likelihood that 7 randomly placed points are going to be the difference for a team being good enough to get in and missing the playoffs? Furthermore, how many of those 7 points provided would be replaced by, for example, having Von Bell on the field, or a 3rd round receiver with a 4th round DT, or whatever other combo you want to cook up?
Good points Toofamiliar17. You seem like a smart person who actually reads and isn’t afraid of numbers so I’ll extend the conversation. I think your 1st or 4th paragraphs actually support my point. Yes, we don’t know which two games those 7ish points will be applied, but we know that over the past 3 seasons we lost an average of 4 games out of 16 that could have been tied or won with a better kicking game. Even if there were no kicks attempted in those games, we don’t know that if the coach had more confidence in the kicker he wouldn’t have sent him on the field more often. That also means that over the past 3 seasons there’s a 25% chance we could have tied or won at least one more game, which as we found out in 2010 could be the difference in making the playoffs.
Your last paragraph gets to the heart of the matter. The real issue is how many points do we gain by picking a player at a certain position compared to another team picking a player at the same position? We gained 7ish points per year with a great kicker, but how many points do we prevent with one 3rd round DT over another? Neither should have much of an impact as they both could be career backups. Is the number of points 5 for a 3rd round DT….2 points…or even 0.5 points on average per year for a backup DT or WR? Would the point delta even change if both DT’s or WR’s are starters? Is a 3rd round DT for the Bucs that starts going to prevent 7ish more points than one that the Falcons draft that starts? If they’re 3rd rounds more than likely they won’t be very good and won’t have much of an impact; they’re likely just starting due to injury.
One thing we can agree on is that Aguayo will be a starter who will give us 7ish points. That’s more than we can say for guys drafted in the 3rd round at any other position who may not even make it on the field.
Also, you get like a 16 year return on that 3rd round pick investment with a kicker generating 7ish points, which is more than any other position perhaps with next closest probably being QB. Certainly longer than we’ll get with a DT or WR.
too familiar- you are spot on sir! This whole discussion is absurd. When one looks at the stats rather than listening to Licht justify a bad decision, the obvious become clear, this was just a bad transaction. The opportunity cost of this will never be fully known but the fact remains, this was arguably the worst move of this year’s draft.
LOL at worst move of this years draft. Everyone commenting is focusing on 1 aspect of a kicker, 3 points on the scoreboard. Kickers like Roberto change game plans for offensive coordinators like Dirk. He doesn’t just affect points by 1 or 3 a pop. When you have a kicker who hits 88.5% of his FGs, that changes what OCs call and risks OCs take to try and get 7 vs 3 points. Jimbo took advantage of this for 3 year and now Dirk gets to do the same. Knowing you have 3 points locked up when you hit the 30 yard line and knowing you have 3 points 88.5% of time past the 30 yard line can be difference in many games, not just 1 or 2, because the offense can be called more aggressive to try and get 7 instead of 3.
Well apparently it’s only “clear ” to a few of you as the rest of us understand the importance of points. We lost three games last year due to bad kicking. Barth couldn’t even put a kick in the endzone on kickoffs so we are getting better field position as well. What D tackle won a game last year? I’ll wait.
Since you seem to merit statistical analysis here is a good articles about Robert. His usefulness extends more than just field goal kicks. And being Noles fan as you say, how did you not notice this? The statistical value of a drives scoring drop dramitcally as the article states.
For those who think it was foolish I have two words for you. Kyle Brinza. So we missed on a second round D tackle, anyone remember the one we drafted who turned out to be a mentally disturbed, and flamed out, or how about Bowers? I’ve seen us do worse in the second round before then this pick.
So we shouldn’t draft DT’S in the 2nd round because they will be like Bowers ? Even I have more faith in this organization’s drafting skills surfer dude. They took a risk. I hope it works. I Pray for McCoy to stay healthy.
What does Brinza have to do with any of this considering our starting kicker prior to the draft was Connor Barth? You know, the most accurate kicker in Bucs history? The Aguayo pick was terrible. Is there even 1 kicker in history who, in hindsight, would merit a 2nd rd pick? Maybe Vinatiari, and that’s only because of his clutch Superbowl kicks.
Hank Scorpio, in response to your question about is there a kicker in hindsight that would merit a 2nd round pick I would say it depends on the draft class. The draft class where we traded our 1st round pick for D. Revis half of the 1st rounders from that class didn’t even have their 5th year option picked up. I would have to look up where we were drafting the years Vinateri and Gostkowski were available, but if we’re playing the hindsight game I would’ve used a 2nd or even a 1st round pick on either of those guys. With Gostkowski in hindsight I would have taken him over J. Trueblood in the 2nd round. Gostkowski is the best kicker in the league and Trueblood isn’t even in the league anymore. Gostkowski will play at least another 5 years as well.
I meant to add that Trueblood was average on his best day even when he was in the league.
As Hank pointed out, Brindza has exactly nothing to do with evaluating this decision since, ya know….he wasn’t on the team anymore. If he was our alternative, then you could bring him up. But he wasn’t. The alternative was the guy who’s currently the 13th most accurate field goal kicker in the history of the league.
You guys need to stop with this whole “13th best kicker in history” thing. If I throw two passes and complete them both, that doesn’t make me the most accurate QB of all time. Barth has kicked HALF as many kicks as all of those players above him.
I was up at tallahassee this past weekend to take in an fSU baseball game. I talked to several of my old friends who goto all the Football Basketball, and Baseball Game and also attend the Monday moring breakfast with the Coaches. All of the ones I talked to said Aguayo was by far the best kicker ever at FSU. That says alot for me.
You mean FSU homers think one of their players is the best ever? Crazy! Did you know that water is wet too? What a time to be alive!
Yeah and I’m sure you were bitching about the Nole “homers” last year when we took Jameis as well.
Actually, he said best kicker ever AT FSU. Meaning the homers thought he was the best of all the players that played for the home team. Thus cancelling out the “homer” effect
Hank Scorpio, you may think they are homer’s but I sure have heard a lot of criticism from them on many players; in other words they aren’t blind. I never said he was the greatest kicker to ever come out of college; just FSU.
Kyle brindza is the reason this is a good move? Don’t get that. Besides was he our kicker or did we hath Barh back who was better than average.? Also Lovie was an idiot and couldn’t evaluate talent. His fault they tried Brindza. His fault they stuck with him after he had already choked and proven he couldn’t handle it.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the Raiders used a No. 1 pick on both a punter and a kicker and no one is calling them idiots for doing so.
The punter, Ray Guy, also happens to be the only punter in the Hall of Fame. The kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, has been with the Raiders for 16 years and may end up in the Hall himself.
How many kickers have we seen come and go in that time span and how many games have we lost over that period because of our kicking.
Give it rest you arm chair GM’s, only time will tell if this was a good pick or another Aerilious Benn.
Sebastian Janikowski has been an average or worse kicker for most of his career. I don’t know if everyone else is saying it, but they WERE idiots for that pick. If you don’t believe me about that factoid, just go look at his numbers – 80.2% FG% for his career. He has rarely been average or better in a given season. He was a God awful, horrible pick. The odds are great that they would have gotten equal or better production from the kicker position if they had filled that spot with a new undrafted free agent kicker literally every other season. Instead, they burned a 1st round pick on him, which is a hugely valuable asset. There is no rational defense for that selection. Ray Guy was at least damn good, although he also probably wasn’t even nearly worth the pick used on him.
Btw, I’m a huge Noles fan and love Janikowski. Nothing remotely against him. But he’s been a below average NFL kicker for his career. There’s no way around it. Big leg, but generally not even close to accurate enough. Put it this way – remember Rian Lindell? The guy everyone hated because he missed too many kicks? His FG% when he was here was 79.3%. That’s better than Janikowski has done in 6 of his 16 seasons. And it’s less than only one percentage point worse than SJ’s career FG%.
I have no problem using what was really our third round allocation on a kicker with Aguayo’s college accomplishments. Those of you who were brainwashed into thinking the team is desperate for a back-up DT should realize there is no guarantee that the potential “we could have had” choice would even make the final roster, let alone contribute. If you didn’t think kicker was also a “need”, one should look at Barth’s declining, nearly at the bottom, ranking among “current” kickers. There’s no doubt that successful kickers are often found outside of the Draft; but do we really want to keep up the search hoping to get lucky? I suppose we could continue speed dating for a potential kicker every year orrrrrrr take a shot at more of a sure thing. Our best was Gramatica with Matt Bryant a close second. The other ones trotted out over the past 40 years made me cringe each time they struck the kicking pose………..except George Yarno who was old school. Can we at least give the youngster a chance to prove his worth? There’s little doubt that some of you will actually hope he misses so you can bemoan the choice again, thump your chest and bask in your “I told you so” self awarded victory.
Good call scu. Draft is over. Lets support this kid. To many people like to live life in the rearview mirror. Go Buc’s.
Toofamilia, you say Janikowki has been an, “Average or worse kicker.”
You also state he has been a “below average kicker,” throughout his career in the NFL.
You then cite an 80 percent field goal average as the proof.
I don’t know what agenda you have other that to berate Licht for his draft selection, but to cite one stat as your proof is hardly enough to convince any jury of your peers.
First of all 80 percent is hardly average.
Also, how many of those missed kicks that figured into your lone stat were over 50 yards where some teams would have just punted.
Those stats weren’t even available on NFL.com
Janikowski has had his contract extended three times by the Raiders.
Now Al Davis was getting a little loopy toward the end of his life, but he was well known for being ill tempered and short of patience for those who weren’t performing up to Raaaaaaiders standards of “Just win baby.”
Do you really think they would have extended his contract three times if his performance was as bad as you say.
The first time he hits a game winning field goal everyone will change their tune and insist that they “knew all along” it was worth the trade up.
Nobody knows for sure until he starts winning/losing games for us. I know one thing though, having a reliable kicking game will definitely help our offense.
People are so caught up with the “kicker” label. Just because kickers don’t usually get drafted so high doesn’t necessarily meant that drafting the most accurate kicker in college football is a bad idea. Maybe we could’ve got him without trading up but I’m sure Licht had some kind of info leading to his decision.
Until he proves otherwise, I support Licht’s draft moves. He hasn’t failed us yet
I’ve gotta side with toofamiliar17 but for a reason not really brought up here.
Any NFL teams objective should be to have the best 22 starters on the field that you can get and no one here can tell me that we have the best 22 starters at more than several positions.
A kicker even of Aguayo’s stature being drafted in the 2 round or any round for that matter in almost any round is a luxury not a necessity. Kickers are a dime a dozen.
If we had still traded up we could have drafted Vonn Bell because as it now stands our S’s suck and could have taken DT Ridgeway since we wouldn’t have taken Smith.
No trade…3rd Braxton Miller fixes our speed deficiency and is insurance when VJ gets hurt 4th S Miles Killebrew and Ridgeway.
If we had reasonably good starters at all 22 pos and half way decent depth OK draft Roberto but we have neither.
I hope Roberto has a great career but unless he’s GOAT he isn’t worth possibly 3 starters,2 starters and a rotational DT, or even 1 starter and 2 good depth players.
Didn’t we have a “speedster track star” from Florida who was the fastest man in the NFL? How long did he last? Just because you have speed doesn’t mean you’ll last in the NFL. Especially a project receiver such as Braxton Miller. I’ve never seen so many people get upset over a kicker. Like pink stated before, we’ve had terrible luck until recently in the draft. Outside of licht, can you name the last late second early third rounder that’s still playing for us? The draft is a crap shoot and other than the obvious strong first rounders it’s all chance.
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