TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Mike Tomlin walked out onto Florida State's outdoor practice field, catching up to old friend Jimbo Fisher as they straddled the back end line near the goal post at the Seminoles' pro day.
“That was a treat,” the Pittsburgh Steelers coach said to Fisher, who coached with Tomlin at Cincinnati in 1999.
Tomlin took two steps forward before Fisher halted him. There was more he should know about former Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo, whom Tomlin intently watched kick indoors minutes earlier. This wasn’t just a single good showing from Aguayo, Fisher said, before mentioning how much of an advantage his former star kicker will be with the NFL’s new PAT and kickoff rules.
Aguayo could be the first kicker taken in the first two rounds since 2005. No kicker has been picked in the first round since former Seminoles kicker Sebastian Janikowski in 2000. Janikowski was the last kicker to forgo his eligibility for the NFL draft before Aguayo declared in January after his redshirt junior season.
“Those guys watching him kick today said it’s one of the best they’ve seen in a long time,” Fisher said, “and we’ve already known that.”
At Florida State, Aguayo was perfect on his 198 PAT attempts and never missed from inside of 40 yards. He converted 88.5 percent of his field goals (69 of 78 attempts), which is just a percentage point shy of Alex Henery's FBS record of 89.5 percent. When including PATs, Aguayo is the most accurate kicker in FBS history.
His career long is 53 yards, but Fisher said Aguayo routinely converted 57- to 60-yard field goals “like he’s kicking a PAT.”
Aguayo said the feedback he’s received is he’s a second- to fourth-round pick, and a handful of NFL team personnel in attendance Tuesday that were surveyed agreed with the assessment. Most felt Aguayo would probably be a third-round pick.
Teams have avoided selecting kickers in the first three rounds, as Mike Nugent was the last kicker to go before the fourth round in 2005. Not a single kicker was drafted in 2015.
A second-round selection is not a concern for Aguayo, he said, but NFL teams have told him that he has distinguished himself from the kickers of recent draft classes.
“My body of work at Florida State, at the combine I tore it up and I think I separated myself from the other guys,” Aguayo said. “I think my body of work here and my consistency through the years, and the combine and pro days solidifies it.”
In the first season of the PAT being moved back to the 33-yard line, conversions dropped from 99.3 percent to 94.2. A total of 27 teams missed PATs, and six teams missed at least four kicks.
From inside 40 yards, Aguayo made all 49 of his attempts.
“It’s a big factor. With my accuracy inside 40 yards, they love that and I think that helps me out a lot,” Aguayo said.
Fisher mentions Aguayo’s strong leg and ability to pinpoint kickoffs, but he harps on the kicker’s intangibles. Aguayo’s confidence borders on cocky, and he does not faze in pressure situations.
In his high school and college kicking career, Aguayo has attempted only two game-winning kicks and made one, but he passed the stress test Pittsburgh put him through Tuesday. A Steelers coach pestered Aguayo at the beginning of his workout, trying to fluster him with questions. On a 50-yard attempt, Tomlin called timeout before Aguayo kicked. (He made both.)
“Those are the little things they want to see, if you get distracted, if you get flustered,” Aguayo said.
Aguayo looking to become the first second-round kicker in more than a decade isn’t the only streak Florida State is looking to put an end to next month. Former cornerback Jalen Ramsey solidified himself as an option for Tennessee at No. 1 overall with his pro day.
If the Titans select Ramsey, it would be the first time a school had back-to-back No. 1 overall picks since USC in 1969. Jameis Winston went first to the Buccaneers last year.
Ramsey would also be the first defensive back taken No. 1 since 1956.
“There’s not many guys like him,” Fisher said.