Before we over-react to the title, lets read everything BEYOND this sentence too OK? Because we have to go over some facts first…
Using a 2nd round pick on a kicker is something a GM does when your ONE KICKER away from being a good team. In this case, it was also used because it may be another couple decades before a kicker as statistically accurate like Aguayo becomes available. Another reason Licht jumped the gun on Aguayo is he saw the Bucs in 2015 attempt the most FGs ever in franchise history (40), beating out the Super Bowl season 2002 by one kick!
Drafted as high as he was, only a coaching change will give Bucs the ammunition to cut him outright. Aguayo is here, and he’s here for awhile.
Usually when a kicker is THE MOST ACCURATE KICKER IN NCAA HISTORY, he’s going to equate out in the NFL too. The Field is the same size, the ball is the same, but the hashmarks make it harder. The NFL kick is more forgiving.
Sebatian Janikowski was from the same school, tormented his coach with his misses, to the supposed state of firing him if he missed one more kick. Janikowski is STILL on the Raiders, 17 years later. He was worse than Aguayo in his rookie year.
Many steady, well named kickers are struggling since the rule changes in the NFL. Solid kickers like Connor Barth, Dan Carpenter, Mike Nugget, Blair Walsh, Chandler Catanzaro, Graham Gano, and many more.
Statistically, Aguayo is the worst FG kicker so far in 2016, with his 9 of 14 stat line he’s 33rd of 34 kickers, just above former Buc Patrick Murray. Boy Tampa Bay knows how to pick them hmm? Its the exact opposite of what he was used to at Florida State where he became the most accurate kicker ever.
So whats the problem? Is it the game? or the head?
THE GAME: No doubt the game has changed in the NCAA..there have been multiple rule changes, first shrinking the width of the goal posts, then changing the width of the field between hashmarks. Either way its a more difficult angle any way you look at it. In 1992 it was about 64% harder to hit a field goal in College Football, and currently it is about 56% harder to hit a field goal than before the rule changes. You can find the article here. So those numbers show its easier to kick in the NFL, but there must be a certain amount of re-learning to do on certain FGs, short ones, on the far hashmarks with extreamly easier angles; but different none the less.
THE HEAD: Aguayo is not 30 or 40, he’s fresh out of college Millenial who never knew the day when there wasn’t an internet, a computer in everyones house, and doubtfully remembers a day before twitter or Facebook. I’d bet he was fully aware before camp opened the Bucs risked much in drafting him, and no doubt he read the comments below and was fully aware of what the fans would think of him if he missed his first FG.
Well he missed his first kick; and it was an extra point, and he no doubt read those comments. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING!! But that was preseason, and then he kicked his way even. Sort of even! Because in the regular season, the misses came back again, and they counted. They came at the worst time, during a losing streak to start the season.
So the two things in Aguayo’s favor; 1) he’s already fallen as far as he can fall. 2) He has quietly, without pressure, made a few kicks in a row.
After bombing at Carolina, he was given the chance to be the hero and came through with the game winning FG at the buzzer to win it, giving him the MNF hero moment. Then at San Francisco, he made a 38 and 37 yard FG and 4 PATs, his only miss was a 50 yarder. The next week vs Oakland Aguayo faced off against Janikowski, and made his first FG before failing on a PAT (he made the other one, then quietly made all kicks the next week vs Falcons and yesterday).
The Week against the Raiders, Interesting to note that week Ryan Succop, Mike Nugget and Josh Lambo also missed an extra point. Janikowski however blew two chances to beat the Bucs with misses on 50 and 52 yarders.