They say it takes several years to judge most draft picks, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ decision to trade up in order to take kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of this year’s draft was immediately and roundly ridiculed.
And those doing the ridiculing had a case. After all, Aguayo became the first kicker in a decade to be drafted that high. Good — nay, great — kickers can be found in the seventh round, and some of the best can be had at affordable rates on the free-agent market.
But consider the nuance at play. First, Aguayo is — statistically — the most accurate kicker in NCAA football history. The kid just doesn’t miss inside 40 yards. And these days, with the league’s revised extra-point format making PATs significantly trickier than in the past, that matters.
That’s why the admittedly biased but very smart Jimbo Fisher called the move a stroke of genius, and why admittedly biased quarterback Jameis Winston is confident his new teammates will “shut [critics] up.”
They know that Aguayo can immediately impact games, and has a good shot at doing so for many years to come. And frankly, that’s not something you frequently get from 59th overall picks.
The last eight prospects to go 59th? Ty Sambrailo, Jack Mewhort, Aaron Dobson, Vinny Curry, Greg Little, Montario Hardesty, Sherrod Martin, Mike Pollak.
Have any of those guys made a bigger difference on their respective teams than top-end kickers would? Hell no. None of them have even become consistent starters.
In fact, only one Pro Bowler this century has been drafted in that spot, and only a handful have become consistent primary starters in the NFL.
It’s not even a crapshoot. So while we know that Aguayo won’t likely become a Hall of Famer, we have to consider that he has a good chance of making a positive impact on the scoreboard. That’s something the majority of guys drafted in the same spot in recent years haven’t been able to do.