Home Football Why the Roberto Aguayo-Tampa Bay Buccaneers episode was unnecessary – NFL Nation

Why the Roberto Aguayo-Tampa Bay Buccaneers episode was unnecessary – NFL Nation

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After waiving place-kicker Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said he would continue to make “bold moves.”

That’s great. Bold moves can lift a nice team into Super Bowl contention.

I see only one problem: Drafting Aguayo in the second round in 2016 wasn’t a bold move. It was a snub of what should be the clear lessons learned from nearly 50 years of NFL history. It was arrogance in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the best kickers generate only a handful of extra points for their teams relative to the league average.

As Aguayo tries to resurrect his career with the Chicago Bears, who claimed his rights this weekend, it’s worth emphasizing just how unnecessary this entire episode has been. Licht has built an intriguing team in Tampa, but he simply overvalued the kicker position in his zeal to polish the roster. Research from ESPN senior stats analyst Jacob Nitzberg helps demonstrate the historic randomness in the matriculation of kickers onto NFL rosters.

Since the 1970 merger, 121 place-kickers have averaged at least 20 field goal attempts per season, a decent benchmark to be established as a “starter” for at least a year. Of that total, 43 were drafted in the first seven rounds, the cutoff in the modern draft. The rest were acquired in spots that today would fall in undrafted territory.

So at the top, the Buccaneers acquired Aguayo in a way that falls into the minority of historical transactions. Further, of those 121, only eight were drafted in the first two rounds. When you consider that the Bucs traded up to draft Aguayo, giving up the No. 74 and No. 106 picks to take him at No. 59, it’s fair to consider him the equivalent of a low first- or high second-round pick based on the draft value chart at Football Perspective.

There is no real evidence, however, that a drafted kicker — no matter where he is selected — performs substantially better than one who goes undrafted. There are busts at every position, as well as elite players who signed as undrafted free agents, but at the kicking position, the randomness has been especially pronounced.



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