A placekicker being drafted higher than the fourth round in the NFL is almost about as common as a Loch Ness Monster sighting. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have done it twice in their history, and they are hoping the latest “Nessie” selection pays even more dividends than their first one.
Bucs K Martin Gramatica – Photo by: Getty Images
On Thursday former kicker Martin Gramatica, who was a third-round selection by the Buccaneers in 1999 and helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl, stopped by the Bucs OTA practice and offered up some support and advice for Robert Aguayo.
“I was telling him earlier, you can tell that he’s a perfectionist so it doesn’t matter if you were drafted or you’re a free agent, he’s going to put on himself just to be great regardless of where you get drafted,” Gramatica said. “The pressure is more like what people talk about as far as the outside, but internal pressure is the same whether you get drafted or you’re a free agent.
“Actually, sometimes being a free agent is a little more pressure because you get fired right away [laughs] but I think in his case he wants to be great so you can tell that he works hard to be great, so it doesn’t matter where you get drafted. I think he’s going to do great.”
Gramatica went onto to talk about the decision to not only draft Aguayo in the second round, but to also move up in the round to make the pick.
“Any time a kicker gets drafted all of us kickers get excited,” Gramatica said. “You can appreciate what the Bucs have done, knowing that you can have a kicker for 10, 15 years. If he stays healthy and does what he can do then the Bucs are set with a kicker where 99 percent of the time teams are looking for a good kicker. So when you can have one you can lock up for a while I think its a great idea. Especially when you get a guy like Roberto who’s a hard worker and like he said earlier, he’s not your typical kicker.
“I played with some that were like, they kicked and then went to play golf. He’s out here and the guys see him out here and that’s huge because you don’t see that a lot. A lot of guys do their thing and they leave. But with Roberto, he’s here and he’s part of the team and that’s what you want, a guy that wants to be part of the team and be with his teammates. So I think it was a great choice.”
Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Aguayo was happy to get some advice from a player he respects.
‘I think its great, the first time I talked to him was the National Championship game back when I was at Florida State and got tips from him and how he dealt with some situations,” Aguayo said. “Sometimes your swing isn’t where you want to be and talking to him I got some pointers and it was good finally to meet him in person and meet his children. He’s a great guy I remember me, my dad, my brother, and my mom watching him on TV and making a lot of kicks, so the one thing thats cool is that he and his brother were two great kickers and me and my brother are going on that same path. He was great, he’s a legend here in Tampa as a kicker and I hope to be as successful as him, or maybe even more.”
Since 1980 only 13 kickers have been drafted in the first three rounds and Aguayo is one of them. Investing a second round pick is a risk most would say, but one the Buccaneers are confident will pay off for years to come. And like a kicker, the pick by Bucs general manager Jason Licht will either be a make or a miss.
– Hannah Holjes contributed to this report
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
To me the best kicker in franchise history was Matt Bryant under 40 yds he was a lock he didn’t have the strongest leg even though he miraculously kicked the game winner from 62 yds a game which I was at, loved seeing the Eagles Fans leave the stadium with their heads down
I remember that kick well Jon. I also remember how pissed I was when he went to Atlanta, and you knew every kick under 40 was a lock, especially against us. Good to see Martin out there. Even better to see him giving father time the middle finger and just letting that hair do it’s thing. haha
I’m hoping some of his advice was not to jump around like a maniac after you make a kick. It can be detrimental to your health as a a kicker.
Wasn’t that the hoppy brother that blew out the ACL? I like seeing the old players welcomed back to One Buc Place with open arms… Now, if they could just find Donald Iguibkquebekiquie.
Can we please get past where we drafted a player. Right now there are 90 players and the 53 players will make the regular season team and a several will go to the Practice Squad. I’m tired of all this same old talk; how about moving past this Pewter Report? How about what’s Martin doing in his life now. How about asking him what was his greatest kick ever and who gave him the best advice as a Kicker.
PR,iIt’s ignorant enough that you all keep trying to brainwash the masses to think that the Aguayo pick was a good one. Please, for the love of God….let’s stop freaking pretending that Gramatica was a good pick. I love the guy for his personality, but he wasn’t a special kicker at all. The dude made 76% of his kicks over the course of a 7 year career. SEVEN YEARS FOR A KICKER. He never once made even 85% of his kicks in a season. There were TWO seasons in which he attempted more than 5 kicks and managed to find himself in the top 10 of FG% at the end of the year. And in both of those seasons, he was TENTH.
Martin Gramatica is one of many, many examples – including Mike Nugent, Nate Kaeding, Jason Hanson (before you argue this one – there were 10 out of 20 career seasons in which he was in the top 10…..think about that for a second. The Lions used a 2nd round pick on a position that is 90% filled by undrafted free agents…..and he was in the top third of the league HALF THE TIME), Chip Lohmiller, John Lee, Russell Erxleben, Chris Bahr, Chester Marcol, Jerry DePoyster, and Charlie Gogolak – that demonstrate that it’s stupid to take a kicker with anything approaching a high pick. Honestly, even going further than that, getting into the mid rounds (let’s say, 3rd and 4th round), the guys who have justified selections with those types of picks are few and far between. The ones you can make some argument for are Stephen Gostkowski, MAYBE Doug Brien, Jason Elam, John Kasay…..and, yea, that’s it. And two of those were barely better than or right around league average in FG% for their careers. Literally every other mid round drafted kicker from the last 30 years (why 30? Because I’m tired of going further back on these lists) either flopped quickly or was below average for the duration of their careers.
Sorry, I got sidetracked. Back to my original point here – Gramatica wasn’t good. He had 4 decent seasons to start his career, and then….yea, that was it. He was done. That was a HORRIBLE use of a 3rd round pick, considering that we very likely could have at least nearly replicated Martin’s overall production with just about any other 4 random kickers off the street (changing to a new one every year), and maybe bettered it. Stop using him as an example. It’s a terrible one.
I have to agree that Martin Gramatica was not a great pick, for a 3rd round pick, however there have been much worse picks by the Bucs, including much higher draft picks. As we all know, the listing of high round drafting disasters by this franchise, would comprise a fairly long Roll of Dishonor or Hall of Infamy! Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs that Jason Licht really has a good grasp of what it takes to oversee a successful draft. Accordingly, in spite of my own initial WTF reaction to the Aguayo pick, I certainly am willing to give our GM the benefit of the doubt as to how this draft pick pans out. Clearly, if we have drafted another Stephen Gostkowski, then it would go down as a great pick, however if he is only another Martin Gramatic, Mike Nugent, etc, then indeed it would be a wasted pick.
There’s been a lot discussed about how much value a great kicker actually provides. Aguayo would have to be maybe the best kicker of all time to justify his selection. Considering that the difference between great and average in the NFL is something like 5-7% of field goals, having a great kicker just doesn’t ADD that much to a team. The best area for kickers to add value is in being excellent on kickoffs, but even then, we’re talking about a difference of something like 5 yards per kickoff, which comes out to something like a difference of 1.0-1.5 points per game. Add it all up, and the MOST value a kicker can provide above average is like 25-30 points spread out over the course of a season. And again, that’s if he’s otherworldly elite in both field goal kicking and kickoffs.
Over the 40 years of drafting we had many many 3rd round choices and earlier who were far less beneficial to the team than Gramatica. Even worse if we throw in the dubious fraft pick trades for guys like Chris Chandler and Jack Thompson. I won’t go Too Familiar on everyone and start listing them.
It’s very difficult for a kicker to be a TOTAL flop. Sure, he contributed average production for the position for like four years. Problem is, teams get that literally every single season from a whole host of undrafted guys. It was a waste of a third round pick. Now, that’s not to say that whoever else we would have taken there definitely would have been successful. Same for Aguayo. The point is that hitting big on draft picks is a numbers game, and every time you waste a pick, especially a good pick like a 3rd rounder, you throw away an opportunity to find a great player, thereby lowering your chances of finding great players across the draft in general.
You’re correct scubog. With all the failed first round picks that litter this franchise, if we get a kicker in the second round who’s great or one in the past in the third round who was mediocre, I count that a blessing-not a wasted pick. Still, I did say WTF when the pick was announced.
Except that more or less the entire rest of the league finds those average and sometimes great kickers in rounds 6-7 or, even more regularly, as UDFAs. That’s what makes these high picks used on kickers so terrible – that their production can be replaced 90-100% by guys who don’t cost any draft capital. Meanwhile, the difference between, just for an example, a third round DT and a UDFA DT is enormous. It’s huge.Go look at the best corners of all time. The vast majority of them were drafted, and drafted fairly highly. The opposite is true for kickers, which is what makes the spending of a valuable draft asset on one so inexcusable.
To me the pick still doesn’t make much sense with the needs we still have at safety,DT, and DE and the players we could have had in the third round….I won’t list them again but was some good talent available. It was odd I just hope he’s what they think he can be in the NFL.
Anything is possible but just don’t see a kicker making that big of an impact on a team that still has needs and is not a Super Bowl team and likely won’t be a playoff team for a while. I’d love to think we are but we just had a shit load of change, all the coaches etc. the defense was horrific last year and Winston may have the dreaded softomore slump. We aren’t ready to challenge for the division and beat Carolina. With our schedule being 5th toughest in NFL 6-8 wins is a good year. Just want to see them be competitive with the big boys and win against the teams we should beat.
I wouldn’t be overly worried about a sophomore slump. There’s been some research done on the idea, and in general, quarterbacks noticeably improve in their second season when compared to their first.
In fact, the leap most QBs make from their first to their second seasons is usually the biggest, at least statistically, of their entire careers. Sure, there are some one off guys who clearly declined in their second seasons, but those are few and far between and not at all indicative of an overall trend among quarterbacks. In fact, as you’ll see from that link, just the opposite is true.
The dreaded sophomore slump is largely a total myth. I’m extremely excited for Jameis’s season!
Toofamiliar17, some good points made and very hard to argue with the facts. I wonder though since the Bucs offense sucked were Gramticas FG’s longer than average? If so was he better at average on long FG’s? Don’t have any hard facts but man so many games where we needed 50 plus yard FG’s because offense was non existent and he delivered most of time. At least that’s what I remember watching but my memory isn’t what it used to be. Lol.
fredster as Scubog can tell you since he is at every game Gramatica lost his confidence and couldn’t come back from it he was missing makeable 40 yarders
Well, I did the digging and found the numbers for you. See for yourself below. I pulled from Pro Football Reference’s year by year pages that tracked kicking stats. I used the NFL numbers from 1999-2008 while taking out 2005 because those were the years of Martin’s career. I removed Gramatica’s numbers from the league sample. Just an FYI, the NFL sample is a tiny bit polluted by attempts from punters and the like in emergency situations. But these are such a small piece of the overall sample that it likely has almost no impact. But if there is any, then it would very likely be to increase the NFL numbers a bit.
Gramatica career FG%: 76.4%
NFL FG% 1999-2008: 80.1%
Gramatica on field goals 50+ yards: 63%
NFL field goals 50+ yards 1999-2008: 52.2%
Gramatica on field goals 40-49 yards: 59.3%
NFL field goals 40-49 yards 1999-2008: 69.5%
I don’t feel like posting each group individually, but Gramatica was also slightly below the league overall on attempts 30-39 yards and 20-29 yards. Somewhat oddly, he never attempted a kick of less than 20 yards.
It’s worth noting that Gramatica’s sample size for kicks of 50+ yards was quite small, only 27 kicks. He made 17 of those to give him his above average FG% from that distance.
As for the idea that his overall percentage was dragged down by him attempting an inordinate percentage of his kicks from distance when compared to his peers…
Over the years we’re talking about, 10% of the league’s kicks were from 50+. 32% of its kicks were from 40-49 yards. For Gramatica, 13% of his kicks were from 50+, and 29% of his kicks were from 40-49. So, yes, he was very slightly more likely to be attempting long kicks. But it was hardly a noteworthy amount. In his case, with the number of kicks he tried, we’re talking about a difference of something like six kicks. Certainly not even remotely enough to drag his overall FG% down appreciably. And, as we already discussed, he was BELOW league average from literally every single other distance.
it IS worth noting that in his first four seasons in Tampa, Martin was above league average three of four years and essentially average in the fourth. I mean, that’s not exactly awesome, but it is SOMETHING, I guess.
The pick for Aguayo was a great move, kickers are sorely under rated in this game, look how many games are decided by the foot of a kicker and it can dramatically change your record, Janikowski and Nugent have been kicking for some time same with Hanson, throw out percentages all you want but the thing you fail to realize is Janikowski has such a big leg he consistently trots out there for 50+ field goals. If you were to ask me would I give a 3rd for Gostowski or Tucker my reply would be I would give a low first for them
I ran the numbers before, and Janikowski did not attempt an appreciably higher percentage of his field goals from 50+ than other kickers of his time. That’s a pure fabrication. Sebastian was more or less an average kicker for the duration of his career. The use of a first round pick on him was truly God awful in every way. Sorry.
And Nugent? SERIOUSLY? Mike Nugent?! I just…..man. He’s been BELOW league average over the course of his career. You’ve gotta be kidding me.
I’m having an out-of-body experience; I agree with you completely jongruden. I wish we could all get past trying to fill every whole on this team in one draft. Even Belichick doesn’t do that.
Me too 76. My golly, not one 2016 draftees has played a down or kicked an extra point and some are bemoaning a pick because it didn’t fit the norm. After watching our collection of kickers, including George Yarno, blow games over the past 40 years, maybe it’s time we took a swing at greatness or even goodness. I think Too Familiar should change his name to “Too Much Free Time”.
“Some are bemoaning a pick because it didn’t fit the norm.”
That isn’t remotely true. I’ve provided very clear explanations for why I don’t like the pick. They’re all much more substantive than not liking it because it was different, lol. Your statement is simple and reductive to the point of being ridiculous. I haven’t heard a single person say what you said, lol. People have good reasons for not liking this pick. if you simply don’t want to, or care to, or are incapable of hearing them, for whatever reason, then that’s on you.
That’s exactly what they’re saying too familiar. So are you saying it’s “normal” practice to draft a kicker earlier than the 4th round if even drafted at all? And given that, Licht spending a 2nd a 4th on a kicker is “ridiculous”? I thought your argument against this choice is because of the round selected. If not, what’s your point?
What’s what they’re saying? I don’t even understand your post here.
No, it’s not normal practice. But it not being normal practice isn’t why I dislike the move. I’ve been very clear on why I dislike it, and I don’t feel the need to spend 500 words rehashing it here, again, right now.
Spending what we spent on a kicker IS ridiculous. But, again, not just because it’s different. Again, I and many others have been very clear on what MAKES it ridiculous.
Of course my point is the round in which we selected him. The use of every draft pick comes with a built in cost – the opportunity cost to have selected another player with that pick. When the opportunity cost is a 6th round pick who typically isn’t even likely to make the team, it’s much more defensible to use that pick on a kicker. When the opportunity cost is a pick that has a relatively very good chance of giving you a really good player at a position that’s both more important and much more difficult to find really good players at, that changes things. Obviously.
There’s no disagreement here toofamiliar. Your objection and that of some media types is exactly what I’ve been saying it was; “Too soon to draft a kicker.” I totally agree that it goes against conventional wisdom. But in my view, if this “player” becomes as valuable to the team as many think he will, I’m willing to let it play out before I claim that another potential draftee would have had greater success. Just curious; who, of the available players, would you have drafted at the original # 3 and with the acquired # 4 picks?
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