That was fast. The Bucs released Roberto Aguayo today, just one preseason game into his second season. He was supposed to be the automatic machine who would be their kicker for the next 10-15 years. Instead he joins the carousel of free agent kickers trying to latch on with teams.
Tampa Bay now is left with Nick Folk, but he won’t necessarily be their kicker either. He’s been shaky in practices, and Dirk Koetter has indicated the team might bring in somebody else.
Typically with kickers, when a team selects one early – first, second or third round – the assumption is they’ll step in and be the guy for years and years. But it rarely plays out that way. Since the league went to the 16-game schedule, 17 kickers have been chosen with top-90 picks. Jason Hanson, Sebastian Janikowski and Jason Elam all lasted 15-plus years with their teams. Three others last more than 5 years: Nate Kaeding (9), Chip Lohmiller (7) and Martin Gramatica (6).
When grading these picks, however, only two big success stories: Hanson and Elam were wins.
Janikowski is OK. He’s been kicking for the Raiders forever. But he hasn’t been nearly as good as they were expecting. Not accurate enough. That is, if they knew he would play like he has, they never would have selected him in the first round.
Kaeding was a pretty good kicker – very accurate. But his career was marred by some colossal misses in playoff games at home.
Lohmiller had some high-scoring seasons with Washington. In the early days of this magazine, he was the Stephen Gostkowski kicker that everyone wanted. But he was never accurate – never converted better than 75 percent of his field goals in a season for them.
Jeff Jaeger was a great pro for years and years, but he lasted only one year in Cleveland, so tough to call that pick a “success”. He spent the bulk of his career with the Raiders and Bears.
Gramatica had three good seasons with the Bucs, and three poor ones, before they gave him the boot.
Tony Franklin is a recognizable name, but played only five years with the Eagles and was a good kicker in only one of them.
Here are the 17 kickers. The three lasting 15-plus years are in bold. The three lasting 6-9 years are tagged with black dots.
|KICKERS CHOSEN FIRST THREE ROUNDS|
|1979||11||Russell Erxleben, N.O.|
|1978||15||Steve Little, St.L.|
|2000||17||Sebastian Janikowski, Oak.|
|1986||32||John Lee, St.L.|
|2005||47||Mike Nugent, NYJ|
|1988||55||• Chip Lohmiller, Wash.|
|1992||56||Jason Hanson, Det.|
|2016||59||Roberto Aguayo, T.B.|
|2004||65||• Nate Kaeding, S.D.|
|1993||70||Jason Elam, Den.|
|1979||74||Tony Franklin, Phil.|
|1978||78||Frank Corral, Rams|
|1999||80||• Martin Gramatica, T.B.|
|1995||82||Steve McLaughlin, Rams|
|1987||82||Jeff Jaeger, Clev.|
|1994||85||Doug Brien, S.F.|
|1997||90||Brett Conway, G.B.|