The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Roberto Aguayo at the end of the second round in the 2016 NFL draft, and that pick does not look particularly good. Aguayo struggled massively with accuracy early on, and failed to hit a kick longer than 43 yards all year long — though he was, at least, outstanding on kickoffs.
Aguayo could turn this all around and turn into a very good kicker. But, y’know, if you’re spending a high pick on a kicker you want a little more certainty than “could”.
In comes Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop, who uses a whole lot of words to say that kickers are incredibly hard to evaluate because no one can tell how they’ll do under pressure in the NFL, and because their college accuracy isn’t all that predictive of their NFL accuracy.
SI did find some body language trainer/expert who pretends that while NFL teams can’t predict who will perform under pressure, they totally can. Spoiler: the world is filled is with people who say they can predict stuff like this based on body language, or sweat levels, or where they’re looking, and almost all of it is mumbo-jumbo that falls apart when exposed to rigorous research.
All of this to say: don’t take kickers high in the draft. It’s not a good cost/benefit kind of thing, because you need to be absolutely certain that your kicker will be the best in the league for it to be worth it.
Thankfully, I think Jason Licht got that message by now.