Redskins should add Roberto Aguayo to create kicker competition
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped a bombshell on the NFL Saturday by releasing former second round pick, kicker Roberto Aguayo. The Washington Redskins should look to add him and create a kicker competition.
The old adage is that an effective NFL kicker can be signed off the street almost any time. With almost all teams only carrying one kicker during the regular season, only 30 kickers have full-time jobs, leaving some quality candidates unemployed during the season. However, there are sometimes teams that go against the grain and think that they have identified a gem at the position. They often commit too many resources to the player and end up dissatisfied with the production that they get from their kickers.
The Buccaneers are a great example of this. In the 2016 NFL Draft, they traded up into the second round to select kicker Roberto Aguayo from Florida State. The kicker was regarded as the most talented player at his position, but the pressure put on him was enormous. He was the earliest kicker selected since Mike Nugent was a second round pick in 2005. That alone made his job difficult.
As a rookie, Aguayo struggled mightily with his accuracy, which was surprising given that he was the most accurate kicker in college football history, going 267-for-276 in field goal attempts at Florida State. As a pro, he floundered. Aguayo only made 22-of-31 attempts during his rookie campaign. On attempts of over 40 yards, Aguayo was a mere 4-for-11. His struggles prompted the Bucs to bring in Nick Folk to challenge him for the job in the offseason.
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Now, it is confirmed that Folk has won the battle. Aguayo was waived by the Bucs on Saturday as they elected to move on from their kicker for a more consistent, veteran presence. That said, Aguayo is still a talented player who will get another chance. Perhaps the Redskins would be a good fit for him.
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Last season, Dustin Hopkins was the primary kicker for the Redskins. He started off the season strong, and actually was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September. However, he regressed to the mean after that. Hopkins finished the season going 34-for-42 on field goal attempts. His total attempts led the league. However, Hopkins’ deep accuracy was not always great, as he went only 3-for-7 on kicks of more than 50 yards.
The slow finish left Hopkins feeling disappointed, and he spoke about his season in a piece by Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post:
"I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t frustrated this year with just the way some of my misses went down. That’s just the nature of this business, especially with field goal kicking. It’s so black-and-white. It doesn’t matter how close you are, it’s whether it went in or not."
Hopkins feels this way, and Jay Gruden may too. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a kicker miss field goals that could keep a team in the game.
Because of this, Gruden could look to add a high upside, young guy like Aguayo to compete with Hopkins. It would be a sensible move. If Aguayo succeeds, they can possibly replace Hopkins with a younger, better alternative. If not, they just lose a camp body who is unlikely to make the 53-man roster in the short term.
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There is little risk to adding Aguayo, so don’t be surprised if the Redskins are one of the teams in the NFL that tries to sign the young, Florida State product. It will be interesting to see where he ends up in the upcoming days.