Buccaneers GM Jason Licht defends drafting another kicker

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht defends drafting another kicker

The Buccaneers raised eyebrows when they drafted a kicker this weekend for the second time in four drafts.

Tampa Bay selected Matt Gay out of Utah with the 145th pick in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft on Saturday, and coach Bruce Arians was candid with his response when asked about the move shortly after.

“We need to score more points,” he said on ESPN.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht also defended the decision, despite receiving backlash for what many considered another questionable choice. The team had previously spent their second-round pick on Roberto Aguayo in 2016 but cut him after one disappointing season.

“Kicker’s a very important position. It’s one of the most important positions on the team. Right now, we have a coach that really believes in kickers and the importance of it, [he] stresses it,” Licht said.

“When Bruce was hired, we had several discussions about what we were going to do to refine the ways that we do things in terms of finding a good kicker.”

While Gay was considered the top kicker in this year’s draft class, things didn’t exactly work out for Aguayo and the Bucs the last time this happened.

Tampa Bay was criticized for trading a third-round pick (No. 74) and a fourth-round pick (No. 106) to the Chiefs to move up to the 59th spot and take Aguayo, only to have him fail to live up to the hype.

Gay, 25, hit 86.15 percent of his field-goal attempts and made a school-record eight from 50-plus yards with the Utes. However, he didn’t attempt a single go-ahead field goal in the final minutes of a close game during his two seasons at the school.