Aguayo drilled at least four field goals during Thursday's OTA session, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. It was a nice bounce-back for the beleaguered second-year kicker, who had gone just 1-for-4 while attempting to kick through 8.5-foot wide uprights on Tuesday. The Bucs were back to regulation goal posts Thursday, which clearly seemed to help Aguayo's cause. The former FSU kicker will attempt to hold off the challenge of veteran Nick Folk this summer, and the latter has notably gotten off to a strong start over the first few sessions.
Aguayo converted just 1-of-4 field-goal attempts from approximately 35-to-40 yards out during Tuesday's OTAs, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. It should be noted that both the second-year kicker and offseason acquisition Nick Folk kicked into narrower-than-usual goalposts that measured just 8.5 feet in width, a full 10 feet less than regulation uprights. However, Folk was perfect on all four of his tries, so Aguayo was alone in his struggles on the afternoon. The 2016 second-round pick had plenty of trouble last season with the distance he attempted his kicks from Tuesday, as he went just 4-for-11 on attempts of 40 yards or more.
Aguayo is facing a make-or-break training camp and preseason with the recent signing of Nick Folk, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. The much-heralded 2016 second-round pick from Florida State had a rocky start to his NFL career, making just 71 percent of his 31 field-goal attempts, worst in the league in 2016. Aguayo's problems were largely centered on kicks of 40-plus yards, a distance from which he was only 4-for-10 despite his longest attempt on the season coming from just 43 yards away. It was a stark contrast to his storied college career, one that saw him win the Lou Groza Award and leave the Seminoles as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. Aguayo certainly has the pedigree to right the ship, however, and also can look to two of the league's longest-tenured and most successful kickers, fellow FSU alumnus Sebastian Janikowski and Stephen Gostkowski, for inspiration. The former went 22-for-32 in his rookie season in 2000 after enduring even more pressure as a first-round pick, while the latter was successful on just 70 percent of his attempts in his first season as well. Folk certainly serves as formidable competition for Aguayo, though, considering his proven track record and the fact that he boasts success rates of between 81.3 and 91.7 percent on his attempts over the last four seasons.
Aguayo finished the 2016 season with a 22-for-31 tally on field goals, as well as a 32-for-34 mark on extra-point attempts. Aguayo was one of the more talked-about rookie kickers in recent memory, given his surprise second-round selection last spring. The FSU product endured the requisite ups and downs that seem to affect the majority of first-year players, except that the spotlight shone particularly bright on his mistakes given the individualistic nature of his position. There were definitely times when it looked like Aguayo had this NFL thing figured out -- such as a pair of separate three-game stretches when he was perfect on all his kicks -- but they would inevitably be followed by games with some confounding misses from fairly manageable distances. The 40-to-49-yard range seemed to particularly bedevil Aguayo, as he was only able to connect on four of 10 attempts from that area of the field. That particular statistical nugget might best crystallize what has to be the biggest concern for the soon-to-be second-year player and the Bucs alike; NFL teams eventually have no use for a kicker, regardless of draft position, that can't consistently convert from what is usually the most common range for field-goal attempts throughout the course of a season. A diligent worker by all accounts, Aguayo will undoubtedly focus on honing his accuracy throughout the offseason. However, the Bucs aren't going to let him cruise into the 2017 campaign without competition, already having inked former Liberty University kicker John Lunsford, who booted an NCAA-record 12 field goals of over 50 yards, to a futures contract on Jan. 4.
Aguayo connected on a 33-yard field goal but missed a 46-yarder and also had a 48-yard attempt blocked in Sunday's 17-16 win over the Panthers. He made both of his extra-point tries. A rollercoaster rookie season for Aguayo fittingly ended with a little bit of everything sprinkled in. While he was true once again from a modest distance of 33 yards, consistent success on field goals of over 40 yards continued to evade him. Aguayo misfired wide left on his 46-yard try late in the first half, and then saw Kawann Short get a hand on his 48-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter. The 2016 second-round pick had come in to Week 17 having made all 12 of his kicks in the previous three games, but his final performance of the season continues to leave the door open for some doubt as to his long-term viability as the Bucs head into the offseason.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/01||New York Giants||24||8.00|
|5||10/06||New England Patriots||2||5.53|
|9||11/05||@New Orleans Saints||30||8.88|
|10||11/12||New York Jets||23||8.00|
|13||12/03||@Green Bay Packers||22||7.95|
|17||12/31||New Orleans Saints||30||8.88|