Thoughts on Bucs, trading up and Roberto Aguayo
Lots of talk over the weekend on the Bucs trading up 15 spots and giving up a fourth-round pick to take FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the draft.
There's been some national criticism -- one anonymous general manager told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman that it was "the dumbest pick in the history of the draft." This, of course, is a massive exaggeration -- the GM means to say "I really disagreed with this move" and just swung a little too hard. Even SI's Peter King said if he were trading up to get a kicker in the second round, he'd want a better career success rate on kicks 40 yards and longer than 71.9 percent. CBS' Jason La Canfora included it among his "seven risky decisions" that will define this NFL draft down the road. Fox Sports' Peter Schrager made a case for why it was the right move.
A few thoughts ...
-- I tweeted this before Dirk Koetter mentioned it on the podium, but I can appreciate that the pick the Bucs gave up to move up 15 spots was a bonus pick they'd gotten the day before to slide down two spots and still get Vernon Hargreaves. They had the pick, could have used it separately on a player likely to make their roster, but if you step back and realize that the net expense was using your first- and third-round picks and the net result was getting Hargreaves and Aguayo, that's where most of us thought those two would go.
-- As we think about Connor Barth, remember that the same GM saw the Bucs choose an undrafted rookie over him in 2014 in Pat Murray, then saw the Bucs choose an undrafted rookie over him in 2015 in Kyle Brindza. Brindza, of course, worked out badly, but Barth was someone still available on waivers a month four weeks into the season. So as much as he's the returning kicker, he's also the kicker they chose unproven rookies over in each of the last two seasons.
-- As much as everyone touts that Aguayo didn't miss a kick inside 40 yards in college, Barth went 17-for-17 on field goals inside the 40 last season, and he went 11-for-11 inside the 40 the year before for Denver. Barth did miss an extra point last year, and missed five kicks in all -- from 43, 46, 47, 52 and 54 yards -- so while he was an affordable option to stay on at $1-million in 2016, it was an area that could be upgraded for the Bucs if they were willing to invest more in the position.
-- Bucs fans don't like to hear about giving up a fourth-rounder because they equate fourth-rounders to Kwon Alexander. True, but that's not the norm for the 106th pick. Go back 2012-14 at pick 106 and you get WR Bruce Ellington (19 catches in two years for 49ers), TE Dion Sims (48 catches in 3 years for Dolphins) and RB Robert Turbin (3 years as backup for Seahawks, cut and played for two teams last year). It's a guy that makes your roster and thus makes your team better, but chances are it's not a starter.
-- About that 71.9 percent success rate from 40 yards and beyond in college: Aguayo was 18-for-24 in the 40s and 5-for-9 from 50 and longer. It works out to 71.88 percent. The NFL average last season on field goals 40 and longer: 71.86 percent. And I understand that you don't trade up into the second round to get an average kicker. I'm just saying it's not some kind of glaring weakness. Carolina's Graham Gano last year? 71.4 percent from 40 and longer. Baltimore's Justin Tucker? 66.7 percent. Same for Brandon McManus, who the Broncos kept instead of Barth. I think the Bucs expect Aguayo to be better than those numbers, anyway.