Buccaneers GM Jason Licht justified his decision to take a kicker in the second round by labeling Roberto Aguayo as the top kicking prospect he’d seen.
“This is the best kicker I’ve ever seen in college, my favorite kicker,” Licht told Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m not going to risk [not] getting him and then have to go through a kicking carousel again during my tenure. I want to get the best kicker. Every position, I want to get the best.”
The rookie who never missed a kick under 40 yards with Florida State and drilled all 198 of his college-range extra points induced the Bucs to trade up to draft him, making Aguayo the highest kicker selected since Mike Nugent went to the Jets in the 2005 second round at No. 47.
While Massinger argues the numbers do not support Licht’s decision, the GM noted Aguayo’s combination of power and accuracy will make a big difference for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in nine years.
“There are lot of kickers that are very accurate — Connor Barth was an accurate kicker — but a lot of those don’t have a powerful leg,” Licht said. “(Aguayo’s) also a weapon as a kickoff guy, too. He can either put it out of the end zone or he can hang it high and drop it on the 5 (yard line) or the 2. … When a team is confident in a kicker, it can affect your game plan a little bit. You can know where you need to get to. We know that if we can’t get it beyond that, we’re still fine.”
Here’s more from around the league.
- In light of what’s occurring with the Broncos and Von Miller as the franchise tag deadline nears, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap writes incoming rookies’ agents should attempt to take some power back and demand teams incorporate language that prohibits the use of the tag for their clients. Using a CBA clause that contains language indicating the possibility of a contract preventing the use of a franchise or transition tag, Fitzgerald notes this could be a way for players to regain some leverage that the 2011 CBA stripped from them. Of course, getting a team to agree to such a premise when it holds a player’s exclusive rights coming out of the draft is a different story. Players like Miller and Muhammad Wilkerson have seen the fifth-year option and now the franchise tag restrict their earning potential severely compared to old-CBA first-rounders, however.
- Fitzgerald notes that Russell Wilson signing for four years and being able to become a prospective free agent a year before Andrew Luck could help compensate for the Seahawks quarterback not receiving the guarantees ($87MM to $61MM) the Colts signal-caller did. The cap expert rates Wilson as the better player who could cash in higher than his 2012 draft class peer as a result of age and skill by the time the passers are due to sign their third contracts.
- Darron Lee should sit behind Erin Henderson at inside linebacker alongside David Harris as a rookie, with the first-round Jets pick likely taking on sub-package responsibilities as a rookie, Darryl Slater of NJ.com writes. Slater expects Henderson, who played in 16 Gang Green tilts last season as a reserve, to start despite Bruce Carter‘s offseason arrival. The Jets possess solid experience in Harris, Henderson and Carter compared to their unseasoned charges on the outside, as Roster Resource details.
- Johnny Manziel does not look to be aiming to return to the NFL in 2016, but he’s generated interest from the Arena Football League.