Belichick, Gostkowski inspired Roberto Aguayo pick

Veteran kicker Connor Barthlost his roster spot earlier this month, the fallout from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decision to trade up for Florida State starRoberto Aguayo in the draft's second round.

Aguayo was one of an astonishing seven Buccaneers draft picks with a first-round grade over the past two years.

Why did Tampa Bay's scouting department place such a high value on the draft's best kicking prospect?

The story begins with general manager Jason Licht's eye-opening experience during his stint with the Patriots.

Bill Belichick tasked all of his scouts with ranking New England's entire roster in order of value.

"None of us had the kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, in our top 10 -- even though he was an excellent kicker," Licht explained, via "After we were done, Bill said, 'Nobody wants to put Gostkowski in our top 10? Why, just because he's a kicker?' Bill made us 'rethink that' and he got his point across. He said, 'You tell me 10 other players that are more important than him'"

Licht was further inspired to find a franchise kicker of Gostkowski's caliber after watching Kyle Brindza misfire on five field goals and a pair of extra points in consecutive losses to the Texans and Panthers last season.

"It was an eye-opening moment for me. I had been around Adam Vinatieri and Gostkowski and those are two of the best," Licht added. "I know how good of a feeling that is to have a guy like that when you know that a lot of the games are going to come down to field goals -- a lot of the games come down to the kicker."

Investing the No. 59 overall pick in a kicker has brought scrutiny to Licht and the Buccaneers. A player selected in that portion of the draft has a 50 percent chance of starting within four years, according to NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly. A third-round pick only has a 30-33 percent chance to start within four years.

Licht is convinced that Aguayo is a can't-miss dual-threat as a clutch field-goal artist and a kickoff weapon. The question is whether he needed to pull the trigger on a second-round trade to find that asset.

Just nine of the 32 primary NFL kickers last season were drafted at all. Six of the top seven grades in Pro Football Focus' 2015 kicker ratings went to players who entered the league as undrafted free agents.

If a quality kicker is that easy to acquire, what is the true value of the position's best prospects?

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