TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Roberto Aguayo is entering the NFL draft at the perfect time. The former Florida State All-American had already garnered rare buzz for a kicker thanks to his impressive resume. But thanks to recent NFL rules changes, teams are likely to place an additional emphasis on reliable kickers. And it so happens that those new rules seem perfectly tailored to Aguayo’s skillset.
The NFL recently voted to permanently move extra point attempts to 32 yards, and to move touchbacks from the 20-yard line to the 25.
That’s just fine with Aguayo, who never missed from inside 40 yards while at FSU, and who also spent three years placing his kickoffs deep in opposing territory to force a return.
“I think it works out in my favor,” Aguayo said after Tuesday’s Pro Day at Florida State. “With the extra point farther, it just weeds out those kickers that aren’t really accurate. Anybody can make a 20-yard field goal.”
Added FSU coach Jimbo Fisher: “(With the new rules changes), the consistency level of those guys is going through the roof. He’s going to be invaluable.”
Aguayo put himself through the paces at Pro Day, booting a variety of kickoffs and field goals of different lengths and distances.
He even attracted some attention from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who tried his best to rattle Aguayo before a simulated game-winning field goal.
With Aguayo set to kick a 50-yarder, Tomlin ran onto the field and tried to ice him by calling a timeout – just like he would do to an opposing kicker at the end of a game.
No matter. Aguayo smiled, reset himself and drilled the kick with ease.
“They want to see you still kick it,” Aguayo said. “They liked that, how I kicked it still.”
Apparently so. Aguayo attracted a large crowd for his workout and had scouts raving about him afterward.
“A lot of guys said that’s the best one they’ve seen in a long time,” Fisher said. “But we’ve known that.”
With an eye-popping resume and and strong showing at last month’s NFL combine, Aguayo had already solidified his place as the draft’s top kicker.
Now he’s looking to join rare company as a kicker drafted in the early rounds.
It doesn’t happen often. No kicker has been drafted before the third round since Mike Nugent in 2005. And former Seminole Sebastian Janikowski remains the only kicker ever selected in the first round.
But Aguayo has shown that he’s not afraid to buck a trend.
In January, he became the first kicker in 16 years to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft. (Janikowski was the last.)
It was a bold move, but hardly without merit.
In three seasons at Florida State, Aguayo accomplished everything a collegiate kicker can. He won the 2013 Lou Groza Award, was a Groza runner-up in 2014 and joined elite company as a three-time All-American.
All while converting 88.5 percent of his field goal attempts and 100 percent of his extra points.
“If he stays one more year, he would’ve broken every scoring record in college football,” Fisher said.
Instead, Aguayo is set to take on the NFL.
He said Tuesday that he has been in contact with several pro teams, and that he has heard he will likely be selected between the second and fourth rounds. The NFL draft starts on April 28.
“It’s a wide range,” Aguayo said. “I don’t focus on it that much. I just try to be the best version of Roberto Aguayo on days like these. … I just try to be as poised and professional as I can.”