No. 3: A Crucial Kicking Competition
After a rocky rookie season, 2016 second-round pick Roberto Aguayo will have some competition heading into year two. Back in March, Tampa Bay signed veteran Nick Folk to compete with the former Florida State kicker. Fans already got a taste of how intense the battle is from reports at OTAs earlier this summer:
Things seemed to go back-and-forth between the youngster and the veteran at OTAs, which means that it all comes down to how they perform in training camp and the preseason games. For a position that people tend to mock frequently, this battle between Aguayo and Folk has the potential to be the biggest Bucs story of the summer. A lot is riding on this decision, as the difference between a shaky kicker and a clutch one is monumental throughout the year, especially in close games that Tampa Bay tends to play.
In 2016, Aguayo was highly inconsistent. He made 71 percent of his field goals, the lowest in the league. He was 32-for-34 on extra point attempts, but the inconsistency on field goals was concerning. On kicks between 40 and 49 yards, he was just 4-for-10. That’s why Folk is here. The 11th-year veteran has made 81.3 percent of his attempts throughout his career. Last year, he converted on 87.1 percent of kicks. Interestingly enough, his only two extra point misses in his career came in 2016, so he and Aguayo were even in that regard. People generally don’t pay too much attention to kicking, but this battle is one worth following.