TAMPA, Fla. -- In a surprise move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up in the second round to take Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo at No. 59 overall. It cost them their third-round pick (No. 74) and one of their fourth-round selections (No. 106). But in the process, the Bucs might have gained a special-teams staple that will make them forget their recent problems in the area.
My take: At first glance, this is an eyebrow-raiser. Really, taking a kicker this high when the Bucs have other needs? Really, using the fourth-round pick gained in the trade with the Chicago Bears on Thursday to move up 15 spots here? My gut feeling is that Tampa Bay should have gone another route. Yes, poor kicking burned the Bucs early last season, when Kyle Brindza made 6 of 12 field goals and 6 of 8 extra points. Yes, Connor Barth was inconsistent as well, going 23-for-28 on field goals and 25-for-26 on extra points. Still, why not continue to build the defense?
There’s intrigue: Aguayo comes with an incredible college résumé. The most accurate kicker in NCAA history, Aguayo had a .9673 conversion rate (267-of-276). He established an ACC record for consecutive PATs made at 198 and became the 12th NCAA kicker never to miss a career PAT. If he continues that success in the NFL, he will be a valuable weapon and will be around for a long, long time. Brindza’s struggles were a nightmare, and Aguayo has more upside than Barth. There’s nothing to suggest Aguayo will collapse soon. If general manager Jason Licht’s bet on Aguayo pays off, this will be a gift that keeps giving.
Licht showed guts: Whatever you think of this pick, you can’t say the GM was timid. Who pegged this one? It was unpredictable. It was interesting. It will continue to fascinate. This much is known: Jameis Winston will be a fan of the move, with him gaining a familiar face in the locker room after the two played together at Florida State. Licht said the Bucs “needed to be bold there, and we were.” Does Tampa Bay have the next Sebastian Janikowski? Licht wants to find out.
What’s next: The Bucs will have more chances to build their defense on Saturday. They have one pick in the fourth round (No. 108), one in the fifth (No. 148) and two in the sixth (Nos. 183 and 197). It’s possible they could add more depth to the defensive line or take a safety. A late-round flier on a wide receiver wouldn’t surprise.