The Los Angeles’ Chargers’ kicking game in 2017 was a bit of a comedy show. Will it be any less funny this coming season?
Of course, you hear the name Roberto Aguayo and the first thing you probably do is laugh. You probably laughed when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used a second-round pick on him in the 2016 NFL draft.
No kicker should ever be taken that high, but Aguayo was one of the most accomplished kickers to come from the college ranks in quite some time. A three-time first team All-American, he also helped the Florida State Seminoles win the BCS Championship in 2013.
During his time at FSU, he made 88.4 percent of his field goal attempts and never missed an extra point. Though the second round was too early to take him, fans in Tampa were likely happy to be getting the local kicker.
He wore out his welcome fast. Aguayo missed nine field goals in his rookie season, matching the number of misses he had during his entire college career. He also missed two extra points.
On shaky ground entering camp last summer, he then missed a field goal and an extra point in the Bucs’ first preseason game. The team decided to pull the plug at that point.
The Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers both gave him a look following his dismissal from Tampa, but he didn’t last long in either spot.
Entering just his third year in the league, Aguayo is already playing for his fourth team and if he can’t win the job in Los Angeles, it will likely be his last.
But many people aren’t even considering Agauyo in this competition after the Chargers signed Caleb Sturgis to a two-year deal once the free-agent signing period began.
Another kicker from the Florida area, Sturgis has been anointed the kicker of the future by many fans. But let’s be honest, it’s not as though Sturgis has been lights out during his career.
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In his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins, he missed eight field goals. The following year, he missed 13 (while only making 16), leading to his release.
He then caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles and after a solid 2016 season, missed all but one game last season. So is it really a forgone conclusion that he’s going to win this job?
Sturgis has the stronger leg and has proven he can kick field goals over 50 yards, but is it the more accurate leg? It’s going to be an interesting battle in training camp this summer.
What I would say is that both kickers are better than Younghoe Koo. Both of these kickers are better than Nick Rose and they’re probably both better than Nick Novak. It’s still a shaky position until someone steps up and makes kicks on a regular basis, but it isn’t as shaky as it was last season.
At this moment, I’d give the edge to Sturgis in the race, but I believe it’s also a lot closer than many people think and I wouldn’t just automatically dismiss Aguayo.