Who should the Bucs have taken instead of Aguayo?

by Gary Shelton on August 15, 2017 · 2 comments

in general

The Bucs had options when they took Aguayo./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

The Bucs had options when they took Aguayo./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Looking back, we all agree it was a bad pick. The glee in which the Bucs pulled it off only serves to make it worse.

Looking back, it was boneheaded. It was foolhardy. It was knuckle-headed. It was a team looking to show how smart it was, only to prove the opposite.

Yeah, Roberto Aguayo was a disaster, all right. Upon signing his contract (and part of the desk, because he was wide left), he went into a tailspin that he could not pull out of. He fell, and he could not get up.

But, while agreeing how smart we all were for saying the Bucs shouldn't have taken Aguayo to begin with, let me ask one final question.

Who would you rather have?

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It's a fair question, even if we all agree that cutting Aguayo (and fans refusing to sell him gas at his local station) was the only paragraph left in his career. Aguayo had sacrificed every ounce of trust he ever had. How could you envision a season where he needed a 45-yarder to kick his team into the playoffs? How could you explain it to your fans if you let that happen, and Aguayo missed?

But let's be honest. The Bucs didn't exactly sell the farm to draft Aguayo. That's why it's silly to hear all this chatter about how it was the worst ever draft pick. Heck, I named five that were worse Monday … by the Bucs … in only the second round.

You know why drafting a kicker is so bad in the second round? Because he's the only kicker on the team, and when he fails, he leaves a team with nowhere to go. If Aguayo was a safety or an offensive guard or a linebacker, you could afford to let him develop. No so for a kicker. You have to be good, or you have to be gone.

"Yeah, I spoke to 'Berto,” Bucs' quarterback Jameis Winston said. “One thing about 'Berto, he knows I love him. I know and I told him he's still going to be the best kicker in the game. That's just me being biased and knowing what type of kicker he really is. But at the end of the day, you've just got to move on. You've got to move on because this is the NFL.”

 Last year, there 11 players taken in the third round (Aguayo went with four picks to go in the second round) who didn't start a game. All of them are still employed, and all of them might grow into something special. But that's the point. Other positions let you grow into them. They let you learn, and they let you mature. Not kicker.

Think about it. Aguayo hit 71 percent of his field goal tries. In his rookie season, Sebastian Janikowski (taken 17th overall) hit 68 percent of his.

So let's go back to the original question. Who should the Bucs have taken.

If they, for some reason, still traded into the end of the second round, they coud have taken Vonn Bell, who started 13 games for the Saints. But it's doubtful the Bucs would move up for Bell. They had just drafted Justin Evans earlier in the second round. They could have traded up for Carolina's James Bradbury, who started 13 games for Carolina at cornerback, but they had last year's No. 1 draft pick in Vernon Hargreaves III and Brent Grimes. It's unlikely they make that move. They could have taken Dallas' Maliek Collins, who started 14 games at defensive tackle for Dallas. But the Bucs had just signed free agent Chris Baker.

Odds are, the Bucs don't move up for any of them. Odds are they would have stayed with where they were with the 74th overall pick and the 106th and try to reinforce their team. And granted, most NFL teams would love to have a do-over,

At No. 74, there were options for the Bucs. Joe Thuney started all 16 games as a rookie for the world champion New England Patriots. You have to believe there was room for him on the Bucs. Adolphus Washington started 11 games at defensive tackle for the Bills (again, would he have had a slot here?). The same goes for Javon Hargrave, a defensive tackle who started 13 games for the Steelers.

Pretty much, that's it. Most of the rest of the round had a couple of scattered starts, but as rookies, they had minimal impact.

The No. 106 pick? The pickings are slim. De'Vondre Campbell started 10 games with the Falcons at outside linebacker. Deon Bush, a safety, started six games for Chicago. Of course, the Bucs could have taken Dak Prescott as a quarterback to backup Jameis Winston (no, he wouldn't have competed for the starting job; the team is invested in Winston), but the team had Mike Glennon at the time. Jordan Howard didn't go until the fifth round, and he had a 1,300-yard season on only 13 starts. But the Bucs had other chances to get him; drafting Aguayo didn't stop that.

Malcolm Mitchell, a fourth-round receiver, caught 32 passes for the Patriots. Tyreek Hill, a fifth-rounder, returned three kicks for Kansas City touchdowns.

Yeah, if the Bucs could do it all again, they could take Thuney and Hill. That would be better than a season of watching Aguayo. Maybe they could take Howard and Mitchell.

Instead, they got one season of Aguayo.

Then, they got to say farewell.

It'll have to do.

Kicking at the start


Player                                                              Draft pick                 Pct.

Charlie Gogolack                                                           5                          64.7

Russell Erxleben                                                          11                         100.0 (2 kicks, 50 percent lifetime

Steve Little                                                                    15                          –.-   (didn't kick; 48.1 percent lifetime)

Sebastian Janikowski                                                 17                          68.8

John Lee                                                                       32                         61.5

Chester Marcol                                                            34                         68.8

Jerry DePoyster                                                          37                         20.0

Mike Nugent                                                                47                         79.6

Chris Bahr                                                                    51                         51.9

Chip Lohmiller                                                            55                      73.1

Jason Hanson                                                              56                     80.8

Roberto Aguayo                                                           59                     71.0


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