Though it apparently wasn’t his call, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht took one for the team by accepting responsibility for one of the worst draft picks in memory—the selection of Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft.
The team cut him on Saturday in a scene that will appear on Tuesday night’s episode of Hard Knocks.
“I’m owning up to it,” Licht told Sports Illustrated. “I’m owning up to it by releasing him. It was a bold move and it didn’t work out. I don’t know what else to say. I know I have the support of my coach and my ownership.
“At the time, I was bound and determined to get the best kicker we possibly could. I thought Roberto had the chance to be a special kicker in the league for a long time. That’s a position that had been a rough spot for us. What did I learn from this? I’ve said this before, but when we took him, we essentially anointed him. If I could do it again, I would have gone back and brought in competition to challenge him. I look back on that a lot. Roberto is a great kid, but the magnitude of that position, and the pressure on a 21-year-old—his performance is affecting the lives of men who have families to support. That got tough.”
After the story broke, however, it was revealed that it wasn’t even Licht’s decision to take the Florida native who put together one of the best kicking careers in college history.
You can blame Jason Licht all you want for Aguayo pick, but league personnel say it was ownership who pushed the pick
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) August 14, 2017
For kickers with at least five attempts, Roberto Aguayo had the worst field-goal percentage in the NFL last season. After his release, Aguayo was promptly picked up by the Chicago Bears.
“I guess you could say (that),” Aguayo said of the idea that his draft position added pressure on Tampa Bay. “Right now, I’m not going to focus on that anymore. There was a standard that was set with that (draft status),” Aguayo said. “But at the end of the day, I know what I’m capable of and the standard that is held in the NFL. I’m just going to go out here and do what I’ve got to do here.”