The epitaph for one of the most bizarre descents into irrelevancy for a kicker in NFL history may have been written Tuesday when the Carolina Panthers waived kicker Roberto Aguayo.
Three years ago, Aguayo was the most polished kicker to enter the draft in a decade. As the NFL was moving the extra point back to the 17-yard line, Aguayo was a hot commodity after converting all 198 of his extra point kicks in a high pressure environment at Florida State. That accuracy combined with the new extra points distance and the low bust rate for kickers transitioning their specialized skill to the NFL, played into Tampa Bay’s controversial decision to draft Aguayo in the second round.
Since then, Aguayo’s career has hooked wide left. Aguyao’s rookie season was a disaster. His 71 percent field-goal success rate was the lowest in the NFL and he was a crapshoot between 40 and 49 yards, missing six of his 10 attempts from that range.
This past summer, augmentations to Aguayo’s kicking motion were proposed and Aguayo consulted with a sports psychologist to better prepare mentally. However, his second season has been only a continuation of his rookie campaign struggles.
In the Bucs’ preseason opener, Aguayo botched a field goal, an extra point attempt, was mocked by teammates on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and was thrown out with the bathwater. He was given a second chance by the Chicago Bears. He responded by knuckle-balling his only attempt in three weeks before getting waived after the fourth week of the preseason
The Panthers picked Aguayo off the trash heap as a practice squad kicker, but apparently the Panthers saw enough and dumped Aguayo (along with running back Jalen Simmons) to make room for rookie tight end Kent Turner and receiver Rasheed Bailey.
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