'The Bucs just made Roberto Aguayo a 15-year vet'
While some fans (and pundits) were scratching their heads Friday night when the Bucs traded into the second round to draft Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo, former Bucs special-teams assistant Billy Miller was beaming.
"I had a smile from ear to ear," said Miller, who trained Aguayo at Brandenton's IMG Academy. "I couldn't be happier for the kid. He put the work in...
"He's a great student. He wants to be the best. He's very deserving of this opportunity."
Miller knows that last statement is in question.
"Talk about raising eyebrows," ESPN wrote.
"Yup, the Bucs drafted a kicker in the second round," read a headline from the Washington Post.
Before the draft, Miller and I talked about the possibility of Aguayo going in the second round, thanks in part to changing rules in the NFL. After the selection, I asked Miller to address Friday night's criticism. He pointed out how tight the NFL is: 59 regular-season games were decided by three or fewer points last year. That's 23 percent of the contests when a good kicker can be the difference between a win or a loss.
"The typical days of the kicker are long gone. If you look at how many games come down to three points or less...
"A 90 percent kicker now is about the norm. That means the Bucs just made Roberto a 15-year vet in the league."
This isn't the first time a team has traded up to draft a kicker. In 1992, the Lions moved up to pick Jason Hanson. He spent 21 seasons with Detroit, and his 2,150 career points are the fourth-most in NFL history.