This past week we have seen former second round draft pick Roberto Aguayo finally getting put out of his misery. Missing a 47 yard field goal plus an extra point, (which clanked, clanged and banked off the upright, depending on the report you read), against the Bengals sealed his fate with the Buccaneers. What’s more, the Hard Knocks crew was there to record the moment the young kicker got the boot for our viewing entertainment.
However, contrary to F.Scott Fitzgerald’s famous quote about there being ‘no second acts in American life’, young Robbie’s second act started the next day. The Chicago Browns swooped in to pick up Aguayo off waivers, and immediately pitching him into another kicking battle in the process. This time he’s up against Connor Barth, a man who was probably gritting his teeth when he heard news of the new arrival. That’s because it was Aguayo’s arrival at Tampa Bay which led to Barth being shown the door, so he will hope for better fortune this time around.
Aguayo certainly has ability, having demonstrated that in his college days with Florida State. His completion rate there was 88.5%, third highest in the history of the NCAA, which is why the Buccs traded up to get him in the second round in 2016. However, his kicking percentage of 71% since stepping up to the NFL is the worst of any regular kicker in that time. Barth will know that memories are short in the pro game, having posted the Buccaneers all-time highest field goal record and proving himself the most accurate kicker in their history with an 83.8% record. Last year with the Bears he posted a less impressive 78.3 percentage, hence the arrival of Mr Aguayo.
Meanwhile in Cleveland
Elsewhere in the league we’ve got a battle in progress in Cleveland for the kicker’s spot as well. Cody Parker was one of the few bright spots during the Browns’ miserable 1-16 season last year, but he is not certain of retaining his job this season. Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez became the most prolific kicker in college history, and the Browns reached to get him in the 7th round and put the pressure on Parker. Meanwhile over in Cincinnati you’ve got veteran Randy Bullock taking on fifth-round pick Jake Elliot for the starter’s position, with both of them stepping up to the challenge so far.
Every kicker is only as good as his last attempt, and even the best boot-man can expect a hobo-like existence as he bounces around from one team to another. Even Morten Anderson – arguably the greatest kicker ever – managed a tour of 5 teams during his stellar career. Kickers: travel light!