Buccaneers GM: I Won’t Draft A Kicker

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has learned his lesson. He’s reached for kickers twice during his tenure as Tampa’s GM, but he’s ruled out the position in this year’s draft.

I won’t take a kicker,” said Licht, who intends to head into the fall with Ryan Succop as his kicker.

In 2016, Licht went for Roberto Aguayo in the second round, citing him as a generational talent. The Florida State product was the first kicker since 2005 (Mike Nugent, Jets) to be selected in the second round, but he made just 71-percent of his field goal attempts as a rookie. During the 2017 offseason, he was replaced by Nick Folk.

This is the best kicker I’ve ever seen in college, my favorite kicker,” Licht said of Aguayo following the draft. “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.”

Then, in 2019, Licht took Matt Gay with the No. 145 overall choice. This time around, he’s standing pat with Succop, who recently inked a three-year, $12MM contract extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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22 comments on “Buccaneers GM: I Won’t Draft A Kicker

  1. jawn

    A team doesn’t plan to draft a kicker… must be a really slow news day to write an article about this

  2. parx

    How many undrafted kickers are successful in the league? I would NEVER waste a draft pick on a kicker, having a kicker carousel cause you can’t a free agent that works sucks, having a kicking carousel because you spent a 2nd rounder on a bad kicker, fireable/black listed offense

  3. Ak185

    Licht hasn’t ever exactly wowed with his draft skills. Most of Tampa’s quality contributors the last year or two were drafted by someone else. I don’t exactly have much faith in Licht’s drafting ability, honestly. It’s not as hard to buy a team as it is to build one. Licht’s had a few draft successes of course-Vea, White, and Evans come to mind-but he just reminds me too much of Les Snead. Occasional hits in the draft, but too tied to free agency to fix gaping holes in the roster.

  4. crosseyedlemon

    You don’t find teams having consistent success without having an excellent kicker. To imply that those guys in the HOF weren’t worth a draft pick is absurd.

    • jay13

      I agree… however the kicker is not the weapon it was before.

      A 1992 2nd Round Detroit Lions pick(not HOF but I wish) will be remembered forever by me.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I think even now, a top kicker gets you 2 maybe 3 wins a season that you wouldn’t be getting if you had a sub standard kicker.

      • markdavisbarber

        Actually the HOF has more kickers then you would think… Morten Andersen, George Blanda, Lou Groza, and Jan Stenerud…

        In 2000 the Raiders drafted Sebastian Janikowski in the first round, #17 over all. After kind of a rough off the field start (bribery/GHB stuff) it worked out great for years….

        • Ak185

          The Toe!

          Kickers always sound awful coming off the board as picks, but considering the length of their careers (for good ones) in a very crowded position group and the number of tight games they win, they should be regarded as valuable. The problem is not so much their value as it is their population, and the importance of their mental makeup in determining their success. All the college greatness in the world may lead still to a shaky career (aka Roberto Aguayo, who looked like the surest thing in NFL history).

          There are dozens and dozens of free agent kickers every year-sure, a team can get by with going through them. But the long term legendary kickers-like the undrafted Adam Viniatieri-would certainly be worth picks if you could in some way predict the outcome of their careers. Even guys like Matt Prater, an amazing kicker who has been rock solid for years, would be worth a high pick if you knew the value of his career at the start, more so than a second round linebacker or first round wide receiver who might get cut or demand a new deal from another team in four years. Our perception of kickers as valuable players has changed a lot in the last two decades, but the impediment remains in limited number of spots and the unlimited number of kickers out there. Still, we’ve got to recognize the leap in value from a Matt Gay to a Stephen Haushka and how much that adds to a team, and recognize that it is in the end worth a pick to get a Jason Elam for your team.

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