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The Buccaneers traded into the 2nd round of the NFL Draft to take a kicker. What?

Was the Buccaneers decision to grab a kicker in the second round a smart choice? Or was it as stupid as common sense seems to dictate.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up to get a second round draft pick, then used that second-round draft pick on a kicker, Roberto Aguayo of Florida State. I'm not joking! This happened!

On the one hand, Aguayo is a truly elite kicker. He came out of college a year early, the first kicker to do so since fellow FSU kicker Sebastian Janikowskiand it completely made sense. If you're good at kicking field goals in college, you will almost certainly be good at kicking field goals in the pros. And Aguayo was arguably the best at kicking field goals in college of all time. It's possible he turns out to be the best of all time at kicking field goals in the NFL.

On the other hand, the Buccaneers traded into the second round of the NFL Draft to take a kicker. Nobody had taken a kicker in the second round since the Jets took Mike Nugent in 2004. Not only did the Buccaneers use a second-round pick on a kicker, they gave up other draft picks for the right to do so. What were they thinking?

As somebody who spends way too much time thinking about special teams and what it means to NFL and college teams, I tried to think about why this made sense and why it totally didn't.

Why this is a good idea

Aguayo is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very good kicker. Very, very, very good. The baseline for kickers is higher than it's ever been before, and Aguayo was still clearly leaps and bounds better than any other kicking prospect in the draft.

Aguayo was incredible at Florida State. He hit 69 of 78 field goals, good for 88.5 percent, making him the third most accurate college field-goal kicker of all time. He never missed an extra point, making him only the 12th kicker of all time to do so. He went a perfect 49-for-49 from inside 40 yards. He's got a strong leg for kickoffs, hitting touchbacks on well over half, and put plenty of air on the ball, as FSU only allowed 16.9 yards per return his senior year.

And unlike most positions, there's not much worry Aguayo won't pan out. Kicking in the pros is almost identical to kicking in college. It's not like Aguayo was only successful because of kicks against poor competition: The uprights are the same distance apart, the ball is virtually the same size.

So people had Aguayo projected pretty high. graded him as a second or third rounder.'s seven-round mock draft had Aguayo going in the third.

Linebackers, running backs and wide receivers can wash in and wash out quickly, but kickers can play for decades. And the Bucs just booked the right to have a great one.

Why this is a bad idea

There just isn't a ton of demand for kickers in the draft. Teams seem to think the difference between a very good kicker and a replacement level kicker isn't high enough to use selections on kickers.

The Nugent selection in 2004 proved why teams don't typically draft kickers highly: Just four years into his career, the Jets brought in Jay Feely when Nugent was injured, and Feely was able to outperform Nugent and won the starting job.

The way NFL teams see it, there are 32 NFL kicking jobs and hundreds of kickers who are reasonably talented at kicking field goals. They can bring in three or four kickers to training camp, have them openly compete, and choose the guy who's kicking the best. At any point in time, an NFL team can sign the 33rd best kicker in the world, and they'll be fine.

Meanwhile, there's intense competition to find position players capable of starting for an NFL team. It's really rare to bring in a linebacker off the street and have him play anywhere near the level of a starting linebacker. For this reason, every single opportunity to select a player in the first few rounds of the NFL draft is incredibly valuable.

And so the Bucs probably didn't need to use a second-round pick on a kicker. Chances are they could've waited a long time to take a kicker. Even if they missed on Aguayo, they still would've been roughly as good at football.

But not only did they use a second-rounder on a kicker, they gave up a pick to do so. For starters, the trade they made was bad. They gave up the 74th and 106th picks for the 59th pick. Trade value calculators will tell you they lost this trade, by a lot, no matter who they picked.

They picked a kicker. They probably could've waited, and it still might've been a bad idea to take a kicker. Instead they paid a premium for the opportunity to use a high pick on a kicker.

A team does not become great because they have a great kicker. They'll convert on a slightly higher percentage of scoring opportunities, which is important, but this might only work out to a few points over the course of a season. Meanwhile, every pick in the first few rounds has the potential to make a team's offense or defense significantly better. And the Bucs opted to use one of their top picks on a dang kicker.