This is not how Roberto Aguayo wanted to start his NFL career. The former Florida State standout never missed a kick inside 40 yards during his college but already this preseason he's honked an extra point and a 32-yard field goal attempt.
In general, this isn't a big deal; rookies struggle. That's why they're rookies. But Aguayo is different; the Buccaneers drafted him in the second round, which made him the second-least popular second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (thanks, Christian Hackenberg!)
Again: Never use a second-round pick on a kicker. Never. Difference between greats and middle of pack not significant.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) August 20, 2016
Meanwhile, Aguayo, who was unshakable in college, suddenly seems to lack confidence. This is a problem for an NFL kicker.
"It shouldn't happen with me," he said Sunday. "You just have to fix it and keep moving on. I feel like that's what preseason games were made for, to get the young guys rolling in, to keep working, keep getting better."
According to Roy Cummings of 620 WDAE, Aguayo says he has reached out to both a kicking coach and a mental coach to help him overcome his slow start.
"I'm just focusing on relaxing and sometimes not thinking about it too much,'' Aguayo said. "When you're overthinking like, 'OK, I have to do this and this and this,' you get too many thoughts in your head. Sometimes you have to sit back and relax and just kick it. That's the mindset going into practice and throughout this week.''
Back in May, Bucs general manager Jason Licht cited the extra point permanently moving to a 33-yard attempt as a factor in his decision to draft Aguayo so high.
"He's super consistent," Licht told PFT. "He's never missed inside the 40 in his career, which is rare. And he's the best and most accurate kicker in college history."
A few weeks after Licht's comments, NFL.com's Rand Getlin tweeted that the Bucs had a first-round grade on Aguayo.
The good news is that we're just two weeks into the preseason. As it stands, Dak Prescott looks like a Hall of Famer and Jared Goff looks a practice squad player. A lot can change, and all Aguayo has to do is make a few kicks. For now, he should heed his advice from this spring: Tune out the naysayers.
"There's going to be critics everywhere, you know?" he said at the time. "I think the Buccaneers and the coaching staff here made the right decision [in drafting me]. I think you're just going have to wait until the season gets here. I mean kickers, I think, they score points so they're an offensive weapon and as we can see with the extra point moving back to 33 yards you know it's gonna change the game. I think in the future that there's going to be a lot more draft picks used on good kickers, and I think the kickers are gonna change the game."