Three rounds into the 2016 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted three players who should contribute heavily as rookies -- two of them might even start, while the third can't because there's no such thing as a starting kicker. Yes, a kicker: the Bucs traded up into the second round to draft Roberto Aguayo out of Florida State, one of the best kickers to come out of college over the past decade. While most analysts love the first two picks, they can't quite wrap their heads around trading up into the second round for a kicker -- and the Bucs are getting some abysmal draft grades as a result.
Of course, grades don't really matter. It's about what happens on the field at the end of the day, and we won't be able to properly judge that until about three or four years in the future. If Aguayo turns into a star while everyone who's picked behind him doesn't contribute much, there won't be much to complain. If instead Aguayo is a mostly league-average kicker and a couple of Pro Bowlers emerge from the group of players picked after Aguayo, well, that's a different matter.
Bucs fans loved the first pick of the second round: Noah Spence, the Eastern Kentucky defensive end who was arguably the best pure edge rusher in the draft. A whopping 89% of you gave that pick an A, with another 10% giving him a B. That's about as good as it gets around here. Personally, I gave that pick an A as well. Not only did the Bucs get a terrifically talented edge rusher, Jason Licht correctly judged that Spence would be available at the 39th pick and just let the draft come to him.
The same could not be said for Licht's second second-round pick. He moved back up, trading a high third and a high fourth-round pick for Roberto Aguayo. That pick was met with more, shall we say, mixed reviews. I argued that it was the single worst decision of the entire draft, though I also tried to see things from the other side. Bucs fans seem split on Aguayo. Fully 33% of you gave that pick an F and another 16% a D, but that still leaves a minute majority giving Licht a C or higher.
That's still a massive difference between how everyone viewed Aguayo, and how they viewed Spence, though. And that's a difference reflected in the draft analysts' grades as well. Dan Kadar is probably the one analyst who has the most positive attitude about Aguayo, and he gave the Bucs a B- for the day as whole.
Tampa Bay was able to sit back with the 39th pick and get a player that would have gotten praise had they taken him with the 11th pick in the first round. Assuming Noah Spence has no more off-field issues, he can be a superstar pass rusher. He's got an incredible first burst which helps him get around the edge and into the backfield. Spence is the closest player to Von Miller in this year's draft. He's obviously not on the same level, but he has a similar playing style. After scoring with Spence, the Buccaneers moved up to pick No. 59 to take kicker Robert Aguayo. It was expected that Aguayo would be a top 100 pick, but maybe not this highly.
Overall, he gave the Bucs a a B-. That's pretty mild, overall, especially considering the criticism lobbed at the Bucs from basically every other analyst.
Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner named Roberto Aguayo as his single worst draft pick of day two, noting that he only went 14-for-22 on 40+-yard kicks the past two years, and the grading team gave them a D- for the selection. They did at least give the Bucs a B+ for Noah Spence.
High grades for Spence and low grades for Aguayo is kind of a theme. Walter Football gave the Bucs an A for Spence, as they did for Hargreaves, but them liking what the Bucs couldn't possibly last. A "KICK THE KIELBASA INTO THE BACKSIDE MILLEN" grade for Aguayo. That's bad, in case you hadn't figured that out.
We can continue like that for quite some time. Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar: A+ for Spence, F for Aguayo. CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: B for Spence, F for the kicker. Eric Edholm of Yahoo!'s Shutdown Corner: A- for the pass rusher, D for a placekicker. Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report: A for Spence, F for Aguayo.
All in all, that was to be expected. Perhaps we'll view this pick differently in four years, if Aguayo does very well. We'll have to wait and see.