Just as we suspected they would, the Buccaneers have brought in a challenger to push Roberto Aguayo for the team’s kicker’s job. There’s just one problem; challenger John Lunsford may be a more inaccurate field-goal kicker than Aguayo was.
That may seem impossible. After all, Aguayo ranked 34th out of the 34 NFL kickers who attempted 10 or more field goals this year, making good on just 71-percent (22 of 31) of his tries. As a college kicker, though, Lunsford was worse. Way worse.
During his four years at Liberty, Lunsford made good on just 48 of the 79 field goals he tried, or 60.8-percent.
Now, you may be wondering, and rightfully so, why the Bucs would sign a kicker who seemingly has more issues putting the ball between the uprights that Aguayo did? After all, the objective here is to make the team better, not worse.
Well, Lunsford, who was in Aguayo’s draft class, may actually have the ability to do that. Granted, he clearly has some work to do on his accuracy, but if there’s one thing Lunsford can seemingly do that Aguayo can’t, or at least hasn’t, it’s make a long field goal.
This is a kid who regularly connected on 70-yard field goals in practice, nailed 12 field goals of 50 yards or more (an NCAA record for FCS kickers), including a long of 60 and averaged 62.5 yards per kickoff with 145 touchbacks as a collegian.
All of that was good enough to garner Lunsford an invitation to the scouring combine, where most scouts agreed he might have a future as a kickoff specialist, in part because he can kick the ball almost as high as he can far.
A native of Fort Myers, Lunsford is at the very least an intriguing prospect, one who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers immediately after the draft last year, so it will be interesting to see how long he sticks with the Bucs.
The Bucs search for a competitor and possibly even a replacement for Aguayo, whom they chose in the second round of the draft, has just begun. And it’s not likely to end here. But in the short term at least Lunsford has a chance to prove he would have not only been a better option that Aguayo, but a cheaper one.