“With the 59th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select, Roberto Aguayo, Kicker, Florida State,” announced former Buc’s DT Booger McFarland back in late April in Chicago. This is the point where some Buc’s fans cheered, while others shook their head. Aguayo was the Buc’s second, 2nd round selection in which they obtained by trading a 3rd & a 4th to the Chiefs to move back up in the second round after already drafting Noah Spence with the first, 2nd round selection.
Either way, the best place kicker in NCAA history was now a Buccaneer after his junior season at FSU. Personally I think this was a significant pick, and I will defend my position on why I’ve come to that conclusion.
Once again, the Buccaneers “reached” to select a kicker in the higher rounds of the draft. Although defensive tackle was/is a need for the Bucs, among other deficiencies, the Bucs went with Aguayo, who can establish himself quickly within the ‘football fraternity’ of the NFL. If we give this new regime the benefit of the doubt, obviously this young man was worth the high pick. But was 59th too high? Now, if you’re still criticizing or questioning the decision let us remember the 3rd round, 80th selection of Martin Gramatica in 1999. Bringing the often and unnecessary soccer-style celebrations, while landing the Bucs on Sports Center, Gramatica became an essential part of the offense. After his 84% FGM rookie season, the 3rd rounder became a history-making Buccaneer, Super Bowl XXXVII Champion, while his selection spot actually became validated and even praised.
Now that the 2-point conversion has become the discussion of points after touchdowns ,with the new placement of the ball for extra-point kicks at the 15-yard line and 2-point conversions at the 1- yard line. According to SBNation.com, “2016 presented a 57.5 percent success rate both rushing and throwing for touchdowns from the 1-yard line [on 2-point tries].”
As the 2-point option becomes more prevalent throughout the league, we will also eventually see schematic antidotes being developed by the defensive architects building NFL defenses. Looking at the recently, late Buddy Ryan’s 46 Defense (bringing 8 players in the box essentially) and the 3-3-5 formation with A-Gap penetration, defenses will ultimately adapt and improve progressively in their goal line and short-yard situations. Goal line defensive strategies will be more emphasized in practice, which will effect classroom coaching, personnel alignments, and the advent of more creatively-hybrid 2-point conversion squads that will improve exponentially.
Before blaming the organization with a bad decision on the selection of Roberto Aguayo, think about last season’s early games against Carolina and Houston, as well as the Giants game. Just consider how much a clutch kicker would have changed the 2016 outcome? An often used cliché’ as there is, “the Kicker is a QBs best friend”, is strongly true today. Now that a franchise QB has been established, it was so frustrating watching points wasted on missed routine field goals. I believe given the obvious risk-reward upside with Aguayo gave a legitimacy in the early pick. Nevertheless, Buc fans that are still sore about the selection come regular season, you can always dust off your Donald Igwebuike jersey.
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