After one year of being the guy, Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo is ready to compete for his job.
What a difference a year makes for the Buccaneers kicker. One year ago, Roberto Aguayo was a player that the Bucs sought after. They made a trade to get him and he was going to be the guy. He was the player that was going to take the special teams over the hump. Tampa was tired of losing close games, so acquiring the most accurate kicker in college football history was going to be just what the doctor ordered.
Well, how did that turn out? Aguayo missed a lot of kicks and the Bucs added another kicker to compete with him. Veteran Nick Folk is in town after being released by the Jets. He is an accurate clutch kicker, earning him the nickname “Folk Hero” up in New York. He has a career field goal percentage of 81.3%, compared to Aguayo’s 71% from his rookie season. If you look honestly, Folk is probably the early favorite to win the job.
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So how is Aguayo handling this set of circumstances? Has he crawled into a shell, as a kicker that is normally just handed his job? Maybe he is worried about a talented guy like Folk looking over his shoulder? It turns out that is not the case. Look at what Aguayo told the Pewter Report:
"“It is motivation, Aguayo said. ” When I was in college there would be walk-on kids come in and I didn’t know who they were or if they were good or whatever. But whoever they were, it was always a competition for me. Just seeing someone else out there trying to compete. I like it.” “I look at it like playing golf. When you go out there playing by yourself you are playing to shoot par or shoot your best, but when you have someone else out there it’s like, ‘Well he hit a good shot so I want to hit a good shot.’ So it is good motivation for both of us and it is just going to make both of us better. And the better one will come out on top.”"
There are two things we can glean here. The first is Aguayo’s willingness to compete. He clearly is putting his head down and working hard, which can only be good for the Bucs. Either Nick Folk will win the job, and we know he can kick, or a new and improved Aguayo will. Either scenario is a win for Tampa Bay.
The second element that really comes into focus is how big of a reach this was. Moving up to choose Aguayo in the second round was questionable at best, and the last year has shown the world why. If he were picked late in the draft, the fact that the Bucs need a competition at kicker wouldn’t be as glaring. But the fact that a second round pick is now fighting for his life shows that he never should have been a second round pick to begin with.
So, who is going to win this kicking competition? Can Aguayo hold off the old veteran? Let us know what you think.