No GM went from genius to doofus in the eyes of the fanbase in a single round quicker than Bucs GM Jason Licht. Tampa Bay had traded down and picked up an extra pick in the first round, then addressed a need by getting CB Vernon Hargreaves III. Day Two, the Bucs played the waiting game and let pass rushing phenom Noah Spence fall to them.
We applauded him and gave him well deserved praise. Then they traded up into the second round for a kicker. A kicker. Not a safety or speed receiver or defensive tackle or another o-lineman. A kicker.
Our own Captain, Sander, called it the worst move of the 2016 NFL draft. Maybe it was. Teams don't trade up 15 spots into the second round to draft a freaking kicker. That extra 4th round pick the Bucs got on Thursday? Its gone now. Part of the trade to move up. No pressure there, Roberto Aguayo.
No risk it, no biscuit indeed. It was a bold move by a Buccaneer GM tired of seeing his team blow games because of shoddy kicking. If there was a kicker deserving to be selected in the second round, it may be Aguayo - the most accurate kicker in college football history (and remember, college has those crazy hashmarks). Many experts expected him to go early - as early as the top of the third round. It was a little high, but not as high as you would think.
Tampa Bay Times Columnist Greg Auman gave us this little nugget.
Last three NFL kickers drafted in top 60 have averaged 16 years, 364 career field goals. Nugent, Janikowksi still kicking; Hanson 21 years.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 30, 2016
So if Aguayo lives up to his draft status, he will still be kicking when most (if not all) the 2nd round players have wrapped up their careers.
"When you get a chance to get the best kicker in the history of college football," Bucs GM Jason Licht told reporters, "I didn't want to risk it. I wanted to take him."
But why? So many asked the question.
Here's a good reason - the Bucs kicking woes cost them several games last season.
At Houston - Bucs kicker Kyle Brindza basically torpedoed Tampa Bay's chances of winning that game. It started after the Bucs cashed in on an interception and took a 9-7 lead. Brindza missed an extra point that would have put Tampa Bay up by 3. The Texans would go ahead 10-9 and in the third quarter Tampa Bay had a chance to take the lead, but Brindza misses the 41 yd FG. 10:59 to go in the fourth quarter, still trailing 10-9, the Bucs drive 70 yards and are point blank range. Brindza misses a 29 yard FG. The Texans would score on the deflated Bucs in their next possession, making in 16-9 (Houston's kicker missed his own extra point). They would tack on another FG to make it 19-9. The Bucs tried to inch closer and set up Brindza again, but he misses. Game over. 10 points left off the board. The Bucs lost by 10.
vs. Carolina - Yes, the eventual NFC Champions beat the Bucs to a bloody pulp this day, but it didn't happen until Kyle Brindza sucked the life out of the Bucs' by missing two more field goals. A Winston pick-6 put the Bucs behind the eight ball early and Tampa Bay fell behind 17-3. The young rookie QB shook it off and began to rally his team, first getting them in the end zone to cut it to 17-10, then marching the Bucs down on a 2-minute drill and setting Brindza up point-blank. The Bucs would have cut the lead to 4 and have momentum heading into the locker room. Instead, Brindza botched a 29 yd field goal. On the first play of the 2nd half, the Bucs force Cam Newton to fumble at the Panthers' 25 yard line. Tampa Bay's offense fails to move, but they can salvage something if Brindza could just get it between the uprights on a 41 yarder. He missed and on the very next play, the Bucs force another fumble that's scooped up by a Panther who runs 57 yds for a touchdown. In just two missed kicks, the Bucs went from being down 17-16 to 24-10 and the hearts were ripped out. Brindza would be canned the next week.
Connor Barth came in and steadied the Bucs' kicking woes, but wasn't without his faults.
At Indy - Winston drives the Bucs down the field late in the first half and caps it off with a touchdown to Cameron Brate, putting Tampa Bay up 12-6. Barth botches the extra point, leaving it only a 6 point spread. The Colts would kick a field goal to pull within 3 and take the lead late in the third quarter. Tampa Bay responds with 9 play 44 yard drive but Barth misses a long field goal attempt. Instead of 16 all, Tampa Bay still trails 16-12. The Colts would add another field goal and a game sealing touchdown to put the Bucs away.
vs. New Orleans - The Saints had all the momentum in the game, leading 17-10 and driving to the Bucs 40 but in a rare moment of clarity, Tampa Bay's defense held and rookie Jameis Winston led the Bucs on an 11 play 55 yd drive. Barth would miss a chance to cut the lead to 17-13, the Saints scored on the next drive and would eventually win 24-17.
Vs. Chicago - 6:24 left in the game, the Bucs trailing by nine and trying to get it to a single score deficit. Barth misses a long field goal, the Bears turnaround and kick a game sealing kick of their own. Ballgame.
Now, no kicker is going to make every single kick. Not even Aguayo. But 82% on your field goals isn't good. 50% is a hell of a lot worse. Tampa Bay had one of the worst kicking units in the league last year. It cost them games. Certainly it can be argued that had those drives ended in touchdowns it would have made even more of a difference. Sure, anyone can say that. But you expect your kicker to at least get you the 3 points.
Every time a Bucs kicker lined up, it was an adventure. Jason Licht wasn't going to let that happen again. So sure, many laughed at the Bucs yesterday. Many Buc fans cursed, whined and moaned. Will you still be whining when Aguayo makes that big kick to get your team back in the game? Will the opposing fans be laughing when he drills the game winner to beat their team?
Aguayo's selection overshadowed the amazing, thrilling selection of Noah Spence. Tampa Bay may have found the best edge rusher in the draft in the second round. At least Steve White think so. So far I'm happy with the draft.
Day Three is for building the back end of your roster. Its rare than someone like Kwon Alexander can come in and be an immediate starter and impact player. There are gems out there, though.
I'd like to see the Bucs get another safety, a speed WR (since apparently Kenny Bell is still dropping passes in minicamp) and of course some help at defensive tackle.
Should be another wild and interesting day.