FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The influence of the New England Patriots has been cited by Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht in explaining the unconventional decision to select kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the draft (and trading up to do so).
Licht previously served as a scout from 1999-2002, then returned as director of pro personnel from 2009-11.
In an interview with the PewterReport.com, Licht shared a story from his time with the Patriots that highlighted the value of kickers.
"In New England, Bill Belichick made us scouts list our roster from 1-53 and we had eight practice squad guys and we had some guys on [injured reserve], but he wanted us to rank our guys from first to last," Licht said. "None of us had the kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, in our top 10 even though he was an excellent kicker. After we were done, Bill said, 'Nobody wants to put Gostkowski in our top 10? Why, just because he's a kicker?’ Bill made us rethink that and he got his point across. He said, 'You tell me 10 other players that are more important than him!'
"It was an eye-opening moment for me. I had been around Adam Vinatieri and Gostkowski and those are two of the best. I know how good of a feeling that is to have a guy like that when you know that a lot of the games are going to come down to field goals -- a lot of the games come down to the kicker."
The Patriots took Gostkowski in the fourth round of the 2006 draft.