The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released 2016 second-round draft pick Roberto Aguayo over the weekend. It isn’t hindsight to declare that decision stupid, because it was foolish at the time and only looked more foolish when Aguayo, one of the most accurate kickers in NCAA history, turned out to be very bad in the NFL.
The MMQB’s Peter King was able to get Bucs GM Jason Licht in the aftermath and asked him, “How badly did you fuck this up?” (Okay, King actually asked “How do you feel?”) Unsurprisingly, Licht has some regrets about the decision:
“I’m owning up to it,” he said quietly. “I’m owning up to it by releasing him. It was a bold move and it didn’t work out. I don’t know what else to say. I know I have the support of my coach and my ownership.
“At the time, I was bound and determined to get the best kicker we possibly could. I thought Roberto had the chance to be a special kicker in the league for a long time. That’s a position that had been a rough spot for us. What did I learn from this? I’ve said this before, but when we took him, we essentially anointed him. If I could do it again, I would have gone back and brought in competition to challenge him. I look back on that a lot. Roberto is a great kid, but the magnitude of that position, and the pressure on a 21-year-old—his performance is affecting the lives of men who have families to support. That got tough.”
“Look, I want to digest this for a while,” Licht said. “But this is not going to make me afraid of making bold moves. You can’t make decisions, or not make them, based on fear. I will say that you have to learn from things that didn’t work out. Whatever that is in this case, we’ll figure it out.”
Though Licht fell on the sword for the Aguayo pick, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports reported that the team’s GM wasn’t the one who wanted the kicker so high:
Regardless of who wanted Aguayo, now the Bucs have a combination of Zach Hocker or Nick Folk, while the Chicago Bears get to gamble on a talented kicker who might still be bad but at least has the benefit of lowered expectations and minimal opportunity cost. Unless a guy can hit from 80: Don’t draft a kicker in the second round.