In previous “Path to the Draft” features, we have focused on the possibilities that the Bucs’ have available at the number 9 overall pick in the first round. But no less important is that 39th overall pick, 8th of the second round. Depending on the result of the first round pick, whether it is a defensive lineman or cornerback, it is easy to assume that Tampa Bay will be selecting the position that they did NOT go with, in the first round. However, let’s look at this from a different angle.
Any true Bucs’ fan does not need to be told about our kicking disaster of 2015. From Kyle Brindza who could nail a 75 yarder straight down Dale Mabry but couldn’t make a 33-yard extra point to save his life, to the streaky and inconsistent Connor Barth, the Bucs’ kicking game left us longing for the days of Martin “Auto”Matica. Fret no, Buc fans. Help could be on the way!
Enter Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo. The 2013 Lou Groza award winner is receiving highest praises from NFL scouts. One of the most accurate kickers in recent memory, Aguayo finished his 3-year college career hitting 69 of 78 field goals and never missing a PAT, granted, it’s still 20 yards in college. Not to worry, however, because he never missed a single kick under 40 yards anyway.
Aguayo is a true master of his craft and could provide the Bucs consistency and longevity at a very important position. While the thought is that no game should come down to a field goal or extra point, we as Buc fans know first hand that sometimes the game depends on a leg. Too many times recently that leg has let us down. In the 1999 draft, Rich McKay and company took a gamble on Kansas State’s Martin Gramatica and we all remember how many games were on his leg. All the 9-6, 12-9, 6-3 games of the 1999 season and early 2000’s came down to one important fact: Tampa Bay had a reliable kicker to send into high-pressure situations. Should the Bucs take a dive and select 2016’s best incoming kicker at the 39th overall pick, I for one would be perfectly ok with it.