I’ve had Aguayo’s back from day one. It’s getting harder and harder to stand firm in thi regard. However, he may require a little more patience even though that’s something no Bucs fan wants to hear.
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Roberto finished his college career as one of the best kickers in NCAA history coming out of FSU. He led the ACC with 157 points and 21 field goals made as a freshman. He led the league again in 2014 with 27 field goals. He made all 198 of his extra points in college and was 88% in field goals during his tenure.
Things were clearly different in the NFL.
Although he was solid in extra points, making 32 of 34 attempts, he was only at 71% in field goal attempts, making only 22 of 31. His conversion rate was the worst in the NFL. It’s hard to stand by those numbers, but it most certainly is not indicative of his future.
I’m sure everyone has heard the “rookie kickers struggle” debate. Well it’s a real thing and should not be overlooked. This may be repetitive but Sebastian Janikowski is a perfect example. His rookie year, he was 68%(22/32) in field goals and made all 46 of his extra points. Although he was more efficient with extra points, he was nearly identical in field goal percentage, missing only one extra field goal in the same number of attempts.
Guess what Oakland did with him after his rookie struggles? They held onto him and had faith he would rebound. Sebastian Janikowski has now played seventeen seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He currently has a 97.5% conversion rate in extra points and a 80.4% conversion rate in field goals.
I still think it’s too early to judge whether or not Aguayo is a bust. Sure, you would like a second round pick to contribute day one and at a high-level. Especially a kicker. Well guess what, all positions struggle adjusting to the NFL. Shocker…huh?
Let’s not forget how improved he has been in the latter-part of the season. He kicked at 80%(16/20) and made all nineteen of his extra points in the last nine games. He was 58%(7/12) in his first seven games missing two of his fourteen extra points.
If in the end the Bucs are able to retain a kicker who is as consistent as his college career suggests for a period of seventeen seasons in the end without utilizing another draft pick or scrambling to find one in free agency, wouldn’t you say that the pick was worth it? Kickers often go down as one of the highest scoring positions for their respective teams if they are able to sustain a long career.
It’s debatable at this point whether reaching for him in the second round was a good idea or not. In my opinion, I think it would have been wiser to wait and take him later if he had fell, but hindsight is 20/20 and all of our opinions may change in ten years if he is still a consistent kicker for the Buccaneers.
But do everyone a favor and slow down on the pessimism. Who sincerely believes arguably the best kicker in NCAA history is going to regress that substantially over his professional career? Doesn’t it seem obvious that his struggles were mainly correlated to his mentality? A mentality that seemed to strengthen as the season progressed.
Let the guy breathe and if he is in the spot after several weeks of the 2017 season, then yes… Roberto Aguayo may be the second biggest bust in franchise history next to Bo Jackson. (Considering Bo never played a down in Tampa, not because he wasn’t good)