In the modern NFL, kickers are more important than ever.
Since the league recently made 33-yard extra points official, kickers have more impact on the outcome of games than ever before. Suddenly, point-after attempts are no longer automatic. In 2015, NFL kickers missed 71 extra points, after missing just 37 in the previous five years combined. With extra points becoming more challenging and field goals remaining a critical component of scoring, the value of kickers is on the rise. As a consequence, Roberto Aguayo could become the highest drafted kicker since Sebastian Janikowski. Janikowski was the 17th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and remains one of the league’s premier kickers. While Aguayo isn’t projected to go quite that high, there has been talk of him landing in the second round.
A three-time All-American at Florida State, Aguayo is one of the best kicking prospects in recent memory. During his career as a Seminole, he converted 267 of 276 total kicks—a 96.73-percent success rate. Statistically, that makes him the most accurate kicker in college football history, surpassing former Nebraska kicker Alex Henery, who posted a 96.67-percent mark. Aguayo never missed a single extra point during his collegiate career, nailing 198 consecutive attempts. He was also consistently strong on field goals, recording an 88.5-percent conversion rate and never missing a field goal inside 39 yards.
After three wildly successful seasons at Florida State, Aguayo decided to forgo his final season of college eligibility and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft. Thanks to his incredible talent and the rising value of kickers in the NFL, some analysts believe he could be selected as high as the second round.
“I think we could see a kicker kind of challenge right on the edge there, second to third round,” NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during a recent appearance on NFL Network. “I don’t think Roberto Aguayo gets out of the third round.”
Aguayo solidified his value at Florida State’s recent Pro Day, accurately converting 50-yard field goals with distance to spare. After that impressive performance, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher told the assembled press he believes Aguayo is “as accurate a kicker (as) there’s ever been.” If Aguayo’s consistency can carry over to the NFL, he could easily be worth a second-round pick.