Matt Gay continues to be argument against drafting kickers

Matt Gay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Matt Gay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

As training camp has progressed, the kicking battle between Matt Gay and Elliott Fry has been much closer than anticipated.

First and foremost, Matt Gay should win the starting kicking job for the Buccaneers this year. His upside was high last season, and he showed moments of high-level play, but he has not lived up to his draft status.

There is no excuse for an NFL team to use a draft pick on a kicker, punter, or long snapper. These positions have their value on a roster, but they are easily replaceable and almost impossible to predict in a transition from college to the NFL.

A player like Roberto Aguayo, who was widely considered to be one of the best college kickers ever, almost immediately flamed out in the NFL. Justin Tucker, the best kicker now, entered the NFL as a free agent.

More from The Pewter Plank

Drafting kickers is a complete misallocation of resources, and pre-draft measurables are often a crapshoot anyway. The Buccaneers are no exception to this rule, even though they have made this mistake twice in four years.

Matt Gay had moments of promise and has already been a better kicker than Aguayo, but there has still not been a viable return on the initial investment. Gay was average in 2019, and now he runs the risk of losing his job during training camp to Elliott Fry (a kicker that was not drafted).

Most people assumed that the Bucs were bringing Fry in to push Gay and help him take those next steps in developing, but the argument can be made that Fry is beginning to make a convincing case for the starting job.

With no preseason games to play, the kicking job will be decided by smaller competitions during camp, and Fry has jumped out into a lead.

According to Greg Auman on Twitter, in the head to head matchup today, Gay was 1/4 on kicks from 40 yards or greater, while Fry was 3/4, with the longest make during the competition being from 53 yards out.

After the head-to-head, Fry also made a field goal from 56 yards out. That’s not too bad for a player competing for his first full-time NFL job after going undrafted in 2017.

Regardless of who wins the job, it is clear that there is no definite advantage between these two kickers. Gay may have the advantage as the incumbent, but Fry has already made a compelling case to take the job. The only difference is a draft pick.

The Bucs should hope that Gay works out and that he can be a member of the team for a long time to come if improvements are made, but hopefully Tampa Bay won’t look to the draft ever again to find kicking talent, and they will try out free agents as the prudent decision.

Trending. In-depth look at the running back room for the Buccaneers. light