Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs trade up to take FSU kicker Robert Aguayo

Roberto Aguayo, who won the Lou Groza Award as a freshman, never missed a kick inside 40 yards with the Seminoles.

Getty Images

Roberto Aguayo, who won the Lou Groza Award as a freshman, never missed a kick inside 40 yards with the Seminoles.

TAMPA — After being praised for landing their top target while adding a fourth-round pick Thursday, the Bucs are prepared for the jokes that will follow Friday's questionable trade.

Tampa Bay used that extra pick to move up 15 spots and select Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round (No. 59 overall).

"We know it's going to be criticized," coach Dirk Koetter said.

But if it pays off, the Bucs will bring the most accurate kicker in college football history into a league where special teams are becoming more important.

As the NFL struggled with longer extra points last year, Aguayo never missed a kick inside 40 yards with the Seminoles. The 2013 Lou Groza Award winner had the leg strength to rack up touchbacks but FSU preferred him to kick off high, as NFL teams are expected to do after offseason rule changes pushed touchbacks up to the 25-yard line.

With Aguayo, FSU ranked seventh nationally in opponents' starting field position, according to Football Outsiders.

While the rule changes increased Aguayo's value, Bucs general manager Jason Licht said Aguayo's talent was a bigger factor in making him the first kicker chosen in the second round since 2005.

"When you've got a chance to get the best kicker in the history of college football, I didn't want to risk it," Licht said. "I wanted to take him."

All he had to do was send the No. 106 overall pick (obtained Thursday from the Bears) and his third-round pick (No. 74) to the Chiefs.

Talks between the Bucs and Aguayo's camp began in early January, when Tampa Bay's staff had an informal chat with Billy Miller — a former Bucs assistant who was prepping Aguayo for the draft at Bradenton's IMG Academy.

"I always speak highly of him," Miller said Friday night. "It's easy to do when he's the best college kicker in the nation."

Aguayo has other ties to the Bucs, too; he won a national championship and set the NCAA single-season scoring record for a kicker in 2013 on an FSU team quarterbacked by Jameis Winston.

"Oh my gosh," Aguayo said. "Honestly, it was where I wanted to go."

The Bucs targeted Aguayo as a possible third-round pick after attending his pro day at FSU but decided not to risk losing an automatic talent with a potentially long career; the past three kickers drafted inside the top 60 have averaged 16 years in the league and counting.

"If you love a player," Licht said, "you have to go up and get him."

Regardless of the criticism that follows.

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Bucs trade up to take FSU kicker Robert Aguayo 04/29/16 [Last modified: Friday, April 29, 2016 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Rays journal: Jake Odorizzi goes on 10-day DL with back strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi is hoping his struggles this season can be tied directly to the lower-back strain he has tried to pitch through since spring training. Toward that end, the Rays placed Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to Tuesday.

    Rays center fielder Mallex Smith smiles after hitting a single advancing runners in the third inning. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, July 22, 2017.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It is going to get interesting tonight when the Rays begin a four-game series against the Yankees in New York. The Rays feel they are good enough to win the East Division. These next four games and the four that follow in Houston will be a good measuring stick.