If there’s one position teams around the NFL can’t take for granted, it’s kicker. Okay, that might be a bit absurd, but just ask the Minnesota Vikings how important this position is.
More so than any team in the NFL, maybe outside of Minnesota, the Pittsburgh Steelers know this. They went through multiple kickers last season.
Whether it was due to a lack of production or injuries, Pittsburgh actually ended up rostering three kickers during the preseason last summer. Chris Boswell ended up jumping out from the pack, nailing 29-of-32 possible field goals.
Even then, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin figured it was worth his while to get down to brass tax with the top kicker in the 2016 NFL draft, Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo.
During Florida State’s pro day earlier this week, Tomlin actually “iced” the kicker while he was working out for NFL teams:
“At the end of the day I think I finished strong and finished with that game-winning (kick). They called the timeout and I kicked it again, so they liked that. I think I had a great workout,” Aguayo said, via ESPN. ““Tomlin called a timeout. They want to see you still kick it because you can test, see where the wind’s blowing and everything, so they liked that, how I kicked it still. It was a 50-yarder.”
Considering the Florida State alum views himself as a second-round pick, it’s a good thing he hit the field goal after Tomlin called a timeout.
This is a strategy we have seen utilized over and over again in both college football and at the NFL level. Sometimes, teams wait until the ball is darn near close to being snapped to call a timeout, forcing the kicker to go through his routine for no real reason. It’s a strategy that has both worked and backfired in recent years.
Pittsburgh may not be looking to add a kicker come next month’s draft, but Tomlin might have done the draft’s top player at this position a solid.
Icing kickers and wetting down the ball for quarterback prospects. Man, the NFL draft scouting process sure has changed over the years.