Bucs K Roberto Aguayo - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.
FAB 1. AGUAYO’S ROOKIE SEASON NOT AS BAD AS YOU MIGHT THINK
If Mike Evans had caught 22 passes out of the first 32 that had been thrown his way during his rookie season in 2014 you wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
If Jameis Winston had connected on 22 of his first 32 passes last year during his rookie campaign you wouldn’t have cringed at those numbers.
But when Tampa Bay rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo nails 22 of his first 31 field goals you cringe. And you sigh. And you shake your head.
Such as life in the NFL where perfection is expected – demanded, really – for kickers.
“It’s the ultimate pass-fail position in sports,” Aguayo said. “You only get a few opportunities each game, so there’s not much room for error.”
Bucs K Roberto Aguayo – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Evans wound up catching 68 of the 124 passes that wound up coming his way as a rookie, although not all of them were catchable. Aguayo could only hope he’ll get 124 opportunities in Tampa Bay.
Winston wound up completing 312 passes out of his 535 attempts as a rookie. Aguayo could only dream of getting the chance to make 312 kicks as a Buccaneer.
Catching half the passes thrown your way when you’re the primary target on offense is reasonable. Completing 60 percent of your passes in the NFL is desirable.
Making 71 percent of your field goals is disastrous in the NFL – even for a rookie. And yet was Aguayo’s rookie season in Tampa Bay actually a disaster?
We’ll answer that question in a few minutes. First let’s provide some perspective on what transpired during Aguayo’s rookie season, which certainly had it’s share of ups and downs.
The former Florida State kicker definitely sees progress after going through a slump in training camp and the early part of the preseason before connecting on all of his kicks against Cleveland and Washington. After making a 43-yard field goal, which would be his longest of the year, against Atlanta in Week 1, in addition to his first four extra points of the regular season, Aguayo missed a field goal at Arizona and then another one and his first extra point miss against Los Angeles in 37-32 loss in Week 3.
“Definitely, I think it’s pretty obvious, I look at my first four games and how that went about and then these last 10 games and how I’ve progressed,” Aguayo said. “Fixing on what I had to do and just relaxing and getting comfortable out there, at the end of the day, it’s just a game and I’m going out there and kicking like I would on any other field. Sometimes you just can’t overthink things and you’ve just got to stay back and relax and trust what you’re capable of doing. That’s how I’ve taken it and work on a few details, not just on the field but any other area that would help me be 100 percent. Whether it be getting more sleep or eating right. Being in the NFL, those are the kind of thing do, the little extra to ease your mind and to be at 100 percent.”
Aguayo focused on the little things to help regain the focus that made him one of the best kickers in NCAA history.
K Roberto Aguayo – Photo by: Getty Images
“Eating better and getting more sleep,” Aguayo said. “In college you kind of could get away with it and you could just trust your talent. Here, I’ve been kicking since last season and I haven’t had a break with the stress of the season. You kind of don’t know how everything is working, but as the season went on, I got more comfortable and it let me relax on the field.
Make no mistake. Despite the assurances of Bucs general manager Jason Licht, who said that Aguayo was wired differently and that he liked the mental make-up of the kicker he traded up to get in the second round – and took a huge amount of criticism for in the media – Aguayo felt a tremendous amount of pressure due to his draft status.
“Coming into this season there was a lot on my plate with expectations as a second-round pick,” Aguayo said. “You try not to focus on that and do your thing, but with everything being talked about and being pushed … it’s kind of like the white elephant in the room. You embrace it. I try to embrace it and you do your best to get through it. Being a kicker, a lot of people would have caved. Yeah, I started [out] rough and I tried to find myself. I would go to sleep and I was like, ‘What’s going on? What can I do to get better?’ You try to think of all these things, when really it’s [about] just sitting down and relaxing.”
I believe if Aguayo had been drafted in the fourth or fifth round – and he might not have been available then – that he would have had a better year due to less pressure and less lofty expectations. There have been plenty of articles written on the struggles of some of former Patriots kickers Adam Vinatieri (77.1 percent) and Stephen Gostkowski (76.9 percent) during their rookie seasons – and other notable kickers – and how they rebounded to improve their field goal percentage by over 10 points throughout their respective careers.
Aguayo made just 71 percent of his kicks. A 10-percent improvement gets him to 81 percent, which is still not ideal, but within the range of Connor Barth, who connected on 82.1 percent of his field goals in 2015 before losing his job to Aguayo on draft day last year. More will be expected of Aguayo in 2017 – right from the start of OTAs in May.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter put Aguayo on notice at his year-end press conference on Monday, and rightly so.
“As far as the investment in Roberto and where we picked him, we were all on board with that,” Koetter said. “That’s not going to change. We’re never going to bring that back. That happened, and Roberto was our kicker and like any other player, if he’s got that Buc jersey on and he’s out there on game day, I’m 100 percent in. With that said, our field-goal percentage this year was not good enough. That’s not the only stat that’s not good enough.”
Bucs K Roberto Aguayo – Photo by: Getty Images
Aguayo was only 4-of-11 (36.3 percent) from beyond 40 yards last year. As Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out this week, Aguayo became the first NFL kicker since 2010 to go an entire season without making a field goal from at least 45 yards. The last time that happened in Tampa Bay was back in 1980 when Garo Yepremian made a 43-yarder.
“I think it’s already proven that we have no problem moving on from a draft choice and playing somebody that wasn’t drafted,” Koetter said, likely alluding to cutting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick in 2014, in favor of undrafted free agent tight end Cameron Brate. “We’ve got to have competition at every position. Nothing’s a given. If they’re not the best player, then I feel pretty certain in saying they won’t be out there.”
Aguayo’s competition arrived on Thursday with the addition of John Lunsford, who was signed to a futures contract for the upcoming season. Whether Lunsford will be Aguayo’s main competition in training camp or whether it will be another kicker instead remains to be seen. Lunsford is a long distance kicker, connecting on 12 kicks from 50 yards or beyond. The former Liberty kicker struggled mightily though between the 40-49, hitting just 8-of-23 field goals from that range with eight blocked kicks.
Lunsford may or may not be a threat to Aguayo, but unheralded Pat Murray was able to rise up in training camp in 2014 and steal the job away from Barth unexpectedly, so you never know.
Aguayo knew there would be competition for his job in 2017, and he actually welcomes it and sees it as an opportunity for him to improve. After spending four years at Florida State surrounded by other kickers, Aguayo experienced a good deal of loneliness during his rookie season, and that caught him off guard.
“I have all these [teammates] but they don’t do what I do,” Aguayo said. “In college you had walk-ons, and they’d go out there and kick and you’d have daily competitions. That is different. In college you have your walk-ons. Sometimes you’re swinging and you can’t really see at the moment. Yeah, you can watch film, but sometimes I go out and watch the other kickers like Dan Bailey or some of these other guys that I’m playing against and I’m watching them in pre-game like, ‘Wow, he’s got a good swing,’ and he does this different, so you kind of pick these tendencies up. When you see a person swing their leg, you kind of pick up what they do and try to see if it can help you in any way and see if it’ll fit. I think it’s different not having any other kickers [on the roster], but you kind of have to go with it. I just watch my own film and just go with it.”
The old football saying is that kicking is 90 percent mental and 10 percent ability. After a turbulent rookie season, Aguayo swears he has the mental makeup to survive and ultimately thrive in the NFL.
“Yeah, I think that’s what this position is made for – mental toughness,” Aguayo said. “I think I’m made for it. You can be at the bottom of the bottom, or the top of the top. In college, being the top of the top, I was like, ‘This is easy.’ But then you go out there and you miss a couple and you don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes you only have one opportunity and then you’re like, I’ve failed at my job. You kind of go on a week-to-week basis, you can be a hero or miss a couple and be a zero.”
Aguayo certainly experienced that this season going from a zero to a hero with a stretch in which he connected on 18-of-21 field goals (85.7 percent) since hitting the game-winner against Carolina in Week 5 through Week 16 at New Orleans. And then Aguayo went back to being a zero in the eyes of some fans with a rough ending to his rookie campaign with a missed field goal and his first blocked field goal against Carolina.
I remember being in the press box and forecasting both of Aguayo’s misses on Sunday against the Panthers. Aguayo prefers to have the ball on the right hash mark. If you look at all of his extra point attempts when the kicker gets to place the ball where he wants it between the hashes, Aguayo places the ball right on the right hash mark because he has a natural slice to the left. Sure enough, Aguayo had to kick from the left hash mark and his 46-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
After long snapper Andrew DePaola was lost in the fourth quarter to a torn ACL while covering a punt, linebacker Adarius Glanton was brought into the game as the backup long-snapper for Aguayo’s 43-yard field goal attempt late in the game. That was certainly a factor in Aguayo’s block, especially after a false start backed the kick attempt up to 48 yards.
“Yes, seeing DePo go down, it does get into your head with our main guy going down,” Aguayo said. “We practice with A.G. after practice, but we never do any live snaps. We were snapping on the sidelines before he went in, and Bryan told me to leave a little later to give him that time if it was a bad snap. But A.G. is not a ‘look snapper,’ so when he picked up his head to look at [holder] Bryan [Anger], Akeem [Spence] thought he was going and that’s what caused the false start. Those little things do put change on you, and in the way of the blocking – I know A.G. was just trying to get the snap back there. I wish I would have had DePo there, but that’s the game. Stuff is going to happen.”
Bucs LS Andrew DePaola – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The blocking up front was off with the timing of the snap, and Aguayo’s kick was blocked as a result. That would have been a horrible way for Aguayo’s season to end had that been his final kick of his rookie year.
“When you go out there and mess up on a kick or field goal, then you go and sit down and you’re just thinking about it,” Aguayo said. “You can’t wait to get back out there and have another shot, but you might not get one the rest of the game. It’s one of the most unique positions in the game – in sports – because you may only get one or two opportunities a game.”
And every kick is pass-fail.
“I still want those [missed field goals] back, any kicker would want those back,” Aguayo said. “But now it’s just getting in the process correctly and hitting the ball flush. At the end of the day if it doesn’t go through you know you hit a good ball. It was a good ball just didn’t go through. But that’s what we work on, to get every ball in those uprights. But if it’s a good miss, if you can blame it on the mercy of the wind, then you can walk off confident. The ones where you missed your line, those are the ones that sting more.
“Some kicks early on, I wish I could have back. You wish you could have all the misses back. It’s just a learning experience. You can never say you’re the best unless you can go 100 percent your whole career. There are always ways you can get better and I’m definitely looking for those in the offseason and coming back stronger and ready to help this team win.”
So was Aguayo’s rookie season a disaster? No, it actually wasn’t.
He had eight games where he was completely perfect with his field goal and extra point attempts. The Bucs wound up losing four of those games, so Aguayo never factored into those losses because of his perfection.
Aguayo had a missed extra point against Oakland, but made his other extra point and hit his lone field goal against the Raiders. But because the Bucs made a two-point conversion after his missed PAT, Aguayo didn’t cost Tampa Bay the game against Oakland.
Aguayo missed a combined seven field goals against Carolina (both games), San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego – but the Bucs prevailed in all of those games. The one true game where Aguayo really hurt Tampa Bay was in the Week 3 five-point loss against Los Angeles, but there were plenty of other Bucs to blame for that defeat.
If DePaola doesn’t get hurt I think there is a better chance that he makes that 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Carolina. That blocked field goal cost him two percentage points and he would have finished the season connecting on 73.3 percent of his field goals. Still not good enough, but better statistically.
But Aguayo did make his final kick of the year – an extra point after Evans’ game-winning touchdown – even with the backup long snapper. And as we saw around the NFL this year – even in Tampa Bay – extra points are no longer automatic kicks anymore.
“At the end of the game that extra point was big time – it was huge,” Aguayo said. “We got it off and we got it through. We did enough to win the game. An extra point is not a gimme. It’s a 33-yard field goal. I had a 33-yard field goal with the first field goal in the game. I thought about it, ‘This is an extra point.’ It’s 33 yards and it’s not a chip shot anymore. It’s a good ending. It’s good to end on a make and building onto that during the offseason for next season.”
Aguayo had some memorable moments during his turbulent rookie season, too.
“I think it was good for me to go through all that, to find myself, to see all that, and learn how to get myself out of it for the future,” Aguayo said. “It’s part of a growing experience and maturing at the same time. The beginning of the season was kind of the lows and I think after the Carolina game is where I started getting more comfortable. The ultimate high you could say was the Kansas City game, going 4-for-4 and winning that game by two points, and winning the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, and having that accolade. It’s hard to get that. That was a high.”
As was his game-winning kick on Monday Night Football against Carolina after two previous misses.
“That was exciting,” Aguayo said. “Obviously it’s awesome that I could hit the game-winner, but obviously disappointed in two misses I had early and that had to do with the game-winner. So that kind of muffled the game-winner, but at the end of the day I saw the Seattle-Arizona game where the Cardinals had two chances to win, and if I missed that one then there would’ve been no game-winner. So that definitely helped my confidence. I guess you can say from there it’s definitely sparked something from there.”
From that game-winner in Week 5 through the end of the season – even the two misses against Carolina in the season finale – Aguayo hit 79.2 percent of his field goals and hit 24-of-25 (96 percent) on his extra points. Not great, but not the disaster that you might have thought his season was.
There’s plenty of room for Aguayo to improve as he heads into his second season. He needs to be more reliable from beyond 40 yards, and he needs to become just as comfortable kicking from the left hash as he is the right hash.
But Aguayo has become more mentally tough as a result of a rocky rookie season, and that’s a positive sign heading into his second year, which will be just as pressure-packed if not more.
“I finished strong during the middle and the end of the year, learning a lot along the way,” Aguayo said. “Having a good camaraderie with the team, I think that’s good to have when you’re a rookie. All of us rookies learning the same way and understanding that there is going to be mistakes made and there is going to be highs and lows and to keep fighting through it.
“I’m looking forward to this offseason and learning how to have my first offseason [as a pro] and looking forward to next season and getting better.”
Through it all, Aguayo has had a familiar former Seminoles teammate in his corner.
“I just believe he’s always had it,” Winston said. “All of his struggles – if that’s what you want to call it – have been mental. He just needed to get used to everything at this level, and he’s been doing great ever since he’s gotten used to it. I think he’s going to have a great career here.”
That’s strictly up to Aguayo. He’ll be given every opportunity to show improvement and deliver on the promise of being a second-round pick in 2016. But if he falters in the preseason he’ll likely get cut after just one season in Tampa Bay.
That’s the life of a kicker in the NFL where every opportunity is pass-fail. Aguayo passed his rookie season – barely.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott, that’s a lot of words to defend Roberto, to try and explain his rookie season. But the bottom line is he was not accurate enough and his range is extremely limited. 43 yards the longest of his season?
Sorry, that’s not good enough and if he was not drafted so high he would not even have made the team. But that typed, he gets to work on his game all off-season, get his mental approach ready for the NFL game and gets an opportunity to try and make the team next summer. I hope he does but it’s all he should get. No guarantees like this season.
I have to disagree on the success of Aguayo’s first season. 2nd round pick should perform a little better, but the most glaring problem was the obvious lack of confidence to really even try long distance field goals from the coach. In essence Aguayo changes the play calling and strategy by Coach because his inability to go and execute makeable distance kicks. The reality is that when a player has higher resources invested in him (money or picks) he has to be better than other players. If not, then you will be banking on the pat murrays and Cameron brates of the world too much. You will not succeed at this level missing on high investments at a high rate in draft and free agency. All being said, I do trust in Licht and believe he is getting better everyday and the coaching is in place. Go Bucs and great insight as usual into our team.
Noah Spence was positive and a delight to watch play football. His effort and ability to play through pain effectively were admirable and I look forward to seeing him further develop. This kid can be a star in this league.
Encouraging yes but if it turns out that he’s a tweener that can’t stay healthy he will have been another Licht Reach. You seem to have a temper so let me be clear – I hope that’s not the case but the risk of it being so is probably why he ‘fell’ to is.
Wrong. He “fell” to the Buccaneers because of a molly incident at Ohio State. He then transferedto a smaller school (Eastern Kentucky?) where he thrived. That is the only reason he fell and most fans know he’d have been a first round pick had he stayed at Ohio State.
You say he can’t stay healthy yet he just proved he can play through pain and do so effectively.
I win. With good temper too!
Indeed you did?
He has potential but is probably in the wrong type of defense and will take more of a beating in the trenches as a result. I hope you’re right about his durability but thinking about it objectively instead of emotionally I’m a little concerned.
Of course there were off field concerns but everyone knew about them yet we pulled the trigger, hopefully works out on that front too unlike ASJ and (who knew?) Martin. Hard to know how to view situations like that – look at productivity of Blount and Talib…
Fab 1: Yes it was, Aguayo stinks. You can try and spin it however you want but that was a big mistake by Licht (and myself for thinking he would be good). I did say he would be a game changer and he’s a game changer all right…:-(
Fab 2: Spence had a pretty good rookie season based on what he was asked to do. Double teams can’t be an excuse next year though.
Fab 3: D. Smith is a terrible pass blocker and he was in college as well. If Cam Robinson somehow fell to #19 (and I don’t think he will) and take him and move D. Smith to LG or RT. Pamphile can play the other spot.
Fab 4: I already gave my comments on the 7 round Mock Draft in the article itself.
Fab 5: Hopefully the plays made in Carolina carry over to next year. Grimes definitely got better as the year went on. I do wish this was the year we were spending a 1st round pick on a CB instead of last year because I really like this year’s class, especially Tabor and King.
I’ll just echo @pinkstob here – well said on all points!…especially D Smith…I can’t understand comments like “he could be one of the best LT’s in the league”??????
I will add that Spence needs to find another move too – the speed rush around the end was getting a little tired as he found himself 15 yards out of the play more often than in the backfield as the season wore-on. All offseason to work on something.
Pink- I agree with you on everything you said. RA- is awful. The comparisons with NE kickers are bogus as one was a fourth round pick and the other an undrafted FA. We gave a 2nd and 3 round pick for RA.
Bucnut2 – whether Aguayo is an effective kicker has nothing to do where he was drafted. That was then, this is now. He was reasonably effective once he got over his initial month of the season. Whether he is good enough for next season or not will be determined during a combination of the pre-season, when other kickers will be brought in to compete, and he is still on the team when the regular season starts, he will have to continue to prove his worth as a kicker.
While I agree that it doesn’t matter now, with the second and third we spent on RA we could have had two starters. And I would argue that the missed opportunity is still relevant. So is the logic, Licht and SR argue the Bucs followed the Patriot’s template in getting kickers, which in fact they don’t. The patriots don’t use high draft choices on kickers.
To set the record straight. We gave up our original 3rd and the extra 4th we acquired as a result of moving down a mere two spots in Round 1 to move into Round 2 to select Roberto. In my mind it was no different than our own 3rd since Hargreaves would have been our target anyway.
Not saying it was the right thing to do, but that’s how it went down.
The argument you’re making is over Licht’s draft picking not Aguayo’s performance.
Scubog’s point is correct – the “extra” pick only came because Licht managed to get Hargreaves – his original round 1 target – by trading down. It’s like “found money” or “mad money”. And therefore you’re betting with the house’s money not your own.
Thank you, Scott, for giving some perspective on Aguayo. He was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. So, he has it in him. I remember when I graduated from College over thirty years ago (yikes). I had a rough time my first year out in my profession. I thank God my employer stuck by me. After my first year, things clicked and I did well. I am still doing well in my chosen profession today. I see that in Aguayo. I think he’ll be fine.
I don’t consider Aguayo’s rookie season to be a particular disaster, by rookie kicker standards … but definitely sub-par and he better “kick it up” a couple of gears next season or he’ll have a short NFL career..
That he wasn’t good on long kicks is also not unusual, as the average NFL kicker hits on fewer than 50% of the long ones.
The Bucs attempted relatively few long kicks as an artifact of how our offense performed this year … we were reasonably productive moving the ball between the 20s but pretty mediocre in the red zone (21st in the league) where most of our drives went to die.
Noah Spence played well even in December, even if the splash stats don’t say so. He was effective at putting pressure on the quarterback which was reflected in the number of passes intercepted and defensed by our secondary, as could be clearly seen in the Carolina game. His shoulder injury clearly affected him, and in the CAR game he literally reset his own dislocated shoulder to get back in the game. How’s that for “iron man”!
Just for the record and my Oklahoma State Pride :)…Tyreek Hill returned a kick against OU for us to help win the game in the last moments, he’s unbelievable and was our hero…for a week. Then he punched that pregnant girl and even without video was immediately cut by Gundy doing the right thing. He got his second chance at a lower division school before entering the NFL. OU on the other hand, didn’t suspend Mixon, they redshirted him and called it a suspension. Complete B.S. Then despite getting in further trouble with the law and school, he was allowed to play this year and now that the video came out Stoops said he should have kicked him off but it was too late to do anything. Ridiculous. He may be a talent like Tyreek is/was, but he’s never been taught a lesson and I predict will only have trouble follow him wherever he goes int he NFL. I obviously hate the sooners, but Perine does seem to be a good guy and hopefully has the talent for the next level if we select him.
Anyway, article only mentioned what Tyreek did at OSU and I wanted to make clear my alma mater handled it the appropriate way. 🙂
I agree with you that the center position needs to be improved. Just not sure it’s with………….you know who.
Scott; I bet your FAB 1 on Aguayo would have been different if we hadn’t stopped the Panthers 2 Point Concersion attempt? I don’t see his future with the Bucs. I have no trust in him and Koetter appears not to have it either. Koetter could have sent him out a few times to attempt longer field goals, but he went other ways. I separated and dislocated my shoulder many times and surgery ended up being the answer in reference to N. spence. I don’t get your evaluation at Center. Hawley got run over and the pocket protection collasped starting at the Center position many times too as he is too slow and his size doesn’t help. Nope Scubog I’m not going to mention his name. I just think all we have to do is improve the Center position and we are set at OL. Go Bucs!
I also dislocated my shoulder once. I could not even pick up a cheeseburger let alone go up against NFL tackles. Let’s just call Spence a man and be glad he’s on our team.
Well said Horse. I totally agree on Aguayo and Hawley.
I have to agree with the post above. I watched Aguayo when he was at FSU and that was a huge venue. There is no reason why the guy can’t move into the NFL, especially as a second RD draft pick and perform as everyone anticipated he would. No stats on earth can justify his rookie year. If I were Licht I would go out and find some real experienced completion instead of this kid from Liberty. Make him earn his job against real kickers.
What concerns me most about the Aguayo article, are some of the things he said. Now I am not a kicker, I am an athlete though and someone can correct me if I am wrong but, the quote about him watching Bailey and other kickers saying he has a good leg swing is scary. Obviously there is a learning curve for preparation and mental acuity in the NFL but the most accurate kicker in CFB history should not be admiring others mechanics! You have to trust what got you there. Maybe I am misreading things but this isn’t like Spence figuring out how to beat blocks and pick up tricks from Ayers… the fundamentals don’t change. A kicker provided he has a good long snapper and holder is back there alone with the ball doing the same thing over and over…. so it better be all mental. If he is trying to change mechanics I am worried for him.
I’m rooting for Aguayo, myself. I think that he’ll end up becoming a very good kicker down the line. As far as the Mark Duffner being promoted to DC, I like the idea of consistency, but he is successful, he moves on. I like the idea of pulling in an ex HC that may not get another shot for a while like Perry Fewell. In either case, I hope that there isn’t a slide in the progress of the defense next year because Smitty is beamed up to the HC ranks.
Another very enjoyable fab5 Scott. Thank you as always. Also, thank you for reading and commenting back on the comments posted on your mock draft 1.0. Refreshing to have some feedback from the author to questions and other thoughts. Thank you and appreciated!!
I am not a FSU fan or homer (chomp chomp), I think Aguayo struggled as most all rookies do. Yes, He wasn’t reliable and agree that just like all BUC fans Koetter also seemed to cross his fingers too:). Let’s see the kid in year 2 guys, a struggling rookie and everyone wants to lop off his head. I believe Licht & Koetter will pull the plug if the kid is a bust.
Spence will be good. Amazing he had an up and down or hot and cold rookie season and no one wants his head! (Being a little antagonistic)
I don’t like Perine. I saw enough games of him not to be impressed. Mixon on the other hand has juic. I know his issues and out cry. That is for Licht to sniff out, but that kid is special with ball in his hands both as a runner & receiver. If not for his off the field issues he likely would be late rd1 talent. (Sound familiar-spence)!
Question, what about thoughts on Dupre from LSU? LSU QB play stunk but that kid looks Beckham-ish when he did get the ball.
I hope Tampa takes notice of the impact OL that will be available in FA. Rick Wagner of the Ravens is not expected to be resigned. Graded out as the no.4 pass blocking RT and could unseat Dotson making him the swing tackle. Also I’ve mentioned Ron Leary of the Cowgirls who graded as the no.2 run blocking guard most of the season wont be re-signed due to the presence of La’el Collins. Don’t sit back and pray Sweezy’s back fixes itself, cut bait and send him somewhere else to rehab. D.Smith, Pamphile, Marpet, Leary and Wagner would be a helluva an upgrade and would allow Dotson to be the swing tackle and Benonoch to develop behind the scenes at G/C.
Good points, stlbucsfan … I would expect that Jason Licht is eyeing these guys and perhaps others. Yes, it’s true that Dirk was complementary of our offensive linemen … but he also said this week that competition is good at every position. Until the rest of the league says the same things about our o-line that they’ve been saying the last couple years about the Cowboy’s o-line … and we are the team that enjoys home field advantage throughout the playoffs like the Cowboys have … then there is still plenty of room for improvement. Standing pat means you’re going backwards.
Great thoughts STL. I think our O-line needs some upgrades. However, as I prioritize our needs, WR(with breakaway speed), S, DL, RB, OL is not our most pressing need.
Good Fab 5 Scott.
I’m going to give Robert a mulligan for this year. I can only speculate about what he went through, but rest assured that it was intense.
So as the warden in Cool Hand Luke said
” he needs to get his mind right “.
I believe he’ll be fine.
Spence showed us fans some true heart. I read Horse had dislocated his shoulder. I have too. It’s no joke. If he was playing that good injured it will be great to see what he can do healthy.
The O Line needs an upgrade. Center please. A big ass pulling Center who can eat up the oppositions best DL man. You can’t win without one. I know I spout off about the line, but it has to be said. I was pissed when Max Unger slipped away from us last year in FA. Yeah it’s that important.
This draft just isn’t exciting me like past drafts. Very few stand out stars. It’s quite foreign to me to have to wait until 19 and the few really good players will be gone. Maybe we have a good shot at a great receiver but IMO not in the first round. Get the O Line Or
D Line an upgrade. It’s all about the lines you know. I’m a broken record, it’s true though.
I’ll take this time to say it’s been some kind of year. I think the best move made by the BUCS is Dirk Koetter. No bullshit and isn’t afraid to cut bait on prima Donna players. Hopefully Doug Martin can overcome his demons and be productive again. I do know I’d keep him. Let’s get that good year he has coming.
Big question is who is going to replace Smith.
As for the Fab 5, Aguayo stinks stop defending him and check the numbers. It was terrible pick at the time and his performance has done nothing but validate that. IF he increases by 10% next year as your numbers suggest he will still be worse than the guy he replaced lol, thats awful. Spence will be fine once we get our rotation of DEs hopefully healthy for once. I’d rather see us take a chance on Mixon late in the draft than reach for Perine in the 2nd. Mixon is better and thanks to his red flags will come at a considerably less price, allowing us to address other needs prior to taking a risk. Like MudManVA I like Dupree from LSU as those guys always fall in the draft due to the awful QB play at that school but those WRs are always highly recruited and talented guys. Another guy to look at in the draft is Speedy Noil who never lived up to his hype but could be a nice speed guy to help in the receiving game and return game.
Boy oh Boy I guess I watching someone other than Aguayo. I am not going to bash him because he DID NOT ask to be drafted that high if someone asked him before the draft where he thought what round he maybe drafted in all honesty he would’ve said rounds 3-6 because that is as a rule where 99 percent are drafted. As far as going forward Roberto needs to improve his accuracy and get the ball up quicker.
If he was signed as a Free Agent, he would have been cut after we were at 1-3.
If he was a free agent, then he wouldn’t have been a rookie starter making his first kicks in the NFL.
It’s funny, everyone is perfectly willing to make allowances and learning curves for rookies at every other position on the team, whether quarterbacks, linemen, cornerbacks, whatever … but a rookie kicker is expected to kick like the kicker equivalent of Aaron Rodgers in his first month in the league.
Let’s draft this guy in the second round in 2017. Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez is the new NCAA record holder for field goals in a career. Might as well as our second rounders are essentially “take a flier” picks. Honestly, I have no problem with Aguayo kicking. He had a poor rookie season. He can not help it that the Bucs selected him in the second round. That’s on JL. I am fine with job Jason has done thus far. But it would make me feel better if he admitted to blowing it with Aguayo and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Every GM blows it once in a while. It isn’t a science, it’s black magic. But when your pick raises the eyebrows of 31 other GMs in the league and doesn’t work out, you’re a fool. If it works out, you’re a genius.
Regarding your Fab 4, first seven round mock draft, I agree with Davis in the first round and I guess this early in the season RD1 and possibly RD2 are about as deep as we should try to project. Certainly I agree with the needs you prioritized, although I am not a big Perine fan. The one player other than Davis that I thought you nailed was the DE from Villanova Tanoh Kpassagnon. While I don’t expect him to remain a 5th rounder once he goes on display at the Combine, he is certainly on first impressions a beast. I read his bio and watched some film on him and he will be a force for some team. At this early juncture if he became available in the 3-4 range i think I would draft him. Thanks for the good read.
Please draft the Center from LSU with our 1st pick.
Kind of off topic, but did you see that 60% of the Cowboys’ O-line made 1st team all-pro? Imagine what this offense would be like with that!!! And how Ezekiel and Dak would do with the Bucs’ O-line?
Usually enjoy these articles but this was non sense. Long winded spin job. He sucked. You can spin or stat it any way you want. 43 was longest made. End of story. Lol.
Geez, enough of the Aguayo bashing. I truly believe what messed him up so bad was when he missed his very first kick as a pro. It had to be devastating for him, with the extra pressure every one put on him. If he makes that first kick, he never loses his confidence, and we aren’t having this discussion (Again).
Let’s see how he bounces back next season. As I recall, Janikowski (First rounder) missed 10 field goals his rookie year and he’s still in the league after like 17 seasons. Those of you who think the pick was bad, regardless of how well he does, will never change your mind.
I know two things for certain though.
1. Jason Licht/ Dirk Koetter and the rest of their staff know a lot more about football than I do.
2. They know a lot more about football than any of you as well.
Can’t wait for next season……Go Bucs !!!!!!!!
1. In order to say that fans who think the pick is bad regardless of how well Aguayo does is a prediction not a statement. Because he has not done well, as he is statistically the worst kicker in the NFL and had one of the worst seasons of kickers in the modern era while not making one FG over 43 yards in a 16-game NFL season.
2. Jason Licht/Dirk Koetter and the rest of their staff know a lot more about football than I do. And they still made an incredibly dumb pick because being knowledgeable does not make you infallible or immune to hubris. The concept that professionals are immune to mistakes because they are professionals is a travesty of bad logic. Put it this way: If Roberto Aguayo was thrown back into the draft pool for 2017 with his 2016 NFL resume on his record he would not be a 2nd round pick. He would not be a 3rd round pick and he would most likely not be drafted at all. Which is where the rest of the rookie kickers including Will Lutz go, undrafted.
Where is the part about Spence in this Article ? But anyways, talking about picks that were reaches. Our kicker was supposed to be the never miss guy. He was supposed to be so good that using two picks to go back up into the 2nd round was going to be justified. To me this is the primary reason the Bucs do not get better. Is because their track record in the Draft is so spotty.
I think Sierra makes a valid point about the root of Roberto’s struggles being his first kick being missed. It was in his head and he couldn’t get past it. Similar to Jameis’ first pass being a pick 6.
Many will forever bemoan the unconventional use of what really was our third round choice on a kicker and I agree it was a bit unusual. But what’s done is done. What’s important now is what Roberto does in his second season. Another similar showing and there’s little doubt that he will become like many kickers in their early years; a ball of Silly Putty bouncing from team to team until they get their mind right and calm down. Let’s hope it’s right here.
Aguayo’s play is simply not good enough. Despite all the rationale, that’s the bottom line. The team will bring in competition in the spring and suffer their bad draft decision if “Kicker X” is better, or simply suffer another season if he doesn’t improve.
And regarding standing pat on the OL … NEVER! Maybe the Cowboys can stand pat, not the Bucs. Those big guys up front, collectively, are the second most important “player” on the roster. Nothing in the numbers we saw this year support standing pat. That said, I believe in the idea of always taking the best available OL man with the1st or 2nd pick. Somewhere in those top 32 players taken is an OL man better than someone on your current roster. Take him! Then maybe someday you can stand pat. Go Bucs!
Note to self: Remember you would have been happy with 8-8.
Let me get this straight. You would simply draft the best offensive lineman in the first round or second round every year regardless of his ranking and forego selecting better players at their respective positions? By that approach wouldn’t your offensive line always be in a state of flux where continuity is so critical? There sure have been a lot of good offensive linemen drafted in early rounds that fail and many later round ones who have stellar careers. Charles McCray ( 7th player in 1st round) and Donald Penn (undrafted) are two local examples.
That Dallas offensive line didn’t help them much in 2015. It takes more than a good offensive line to succeed.
I think the point is we have (we hope) the QB and a good OL will help him immeasurably especially if he doesn’t have a fast release and it will also help the running game, which in turn helps JW and the defense. It’s a virtuous circle. Ask Andy Reid about the merits of building from the inside out
Truth be told, offensive lines are always a work in progress. They need attention every year … not necessarily requiring that you draft one in the first or second round every year … but going ten straight years without taking an OL in the first does reflect some degree of neglect, of trying to get by with less than the best talent at a particularly important part of the team.
And yes, an effective offensive line without an effective quarterback or effective running back will not produce a championship. Dallas certainly proved that these last two seasons. Some have argued here in these threads that the Dallas OL would succeed with anybody behind center .. the 2015 team at 4-12 and with the likes of Brandon Weedon behind center proved that utterly false. Dak Prescott does not yet equal a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, but he also was a huge step up from Weedon.
“So was Aguayo’s rookie season a disaster? No, it actually wasn’t.”
Tampa Bay had the lowest FG conversion rate of all teams in the NFL at 71%, ranking them 32 out of 32 teams. This included Will Lutz, undrafted rookie kicker out of Georgia State for New Orleans who converted 82.4% of his kicks including 3-7 FG’s that were 50 yards and over. (New Orleans used their 2nd round picks on Michael Thomas and Vonn Bell). There was so little faith in Augayo’s long kicks that only one was attempted by him over 50 yards and the majority of his 71% conversion rate was on high-percentage short kicks. Meaning had there been more 50+ attempts which is difficult for any kicker to make, you can fairly well guarantee that his success rate would have been even lower.
Scott, I can’t say I’m surprised that you’d try to defend him given the massive praise you gave Licht for drafting Aguayo and the articles on mortar kicks etc. But the only thing worse than making a mistake is the inability to admit you made one in the first place. Expecting the worst kicker in the NFL to turn it around to become anything close to the price of the 3rd highest drafted kicker in the modern era or NFL average would make a Hollywood writer blush.
The fact that you said that Agauyo might not have been available in the 4th when the presumption of the trade up was that Licht didn’t believe he would make it to the 3rd shows that some hindsight is already starting change the perception of the pick. Imagine trying to defend little Dexter Jackson’s selection by duly noting ‘he might not have been available in the 4th round.’ I’m sure had he not Bruce Allen and Bucs fans would have looked back and had a sigh of relief, not tried to rationalize the pick in some obscure way.
But to your initial point that if Jameis Winston or Mike Evans (two of the best players on the team) had a rookie season where they were both the lowest rated and least successful player at their position in the league to include rookie free agents, why yes, I would say there would be a lot of hand wringing going on about their selection. Of course Winston went to a Pro Bowl as a rookie, and as of now 15 NFC kickers would have to decline the invite for Aguayo to get the same privilege.
Aguayo was NOT the worst kicker in the league after he got over his rookie jitters. 82+% on his last coupla dozen FGA and 100% on his extra points in that same timeframe. At 82+ % that puts him at about the same full season percentage as Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders, Steven Ghostkowski of the Patriots, and within 2 or three points of most of the middle-ranked kickers in the league.
Based on your reason, the fact that Jameis Winston threw a pick six on his first pass in the NFL he should have been cut, because that’s like the worst result a quarterback can produce. No matter that he threw for enough yards and touchdowns to make up for that the rest of his rookie season.
When I read the headlines of Aguayo season not being bad I originally thought it was written by Mark Cook “FSU Fan Club” c’mon 4-11 from 40 yds and beyond? Shame on you Scott your much better than this I like you so I will give a pass
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