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Bears claim K Roberto Aguayo off waivers

Chicago adds a highly-touted draft prospect to compete with Connor Barth.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Roberto Aguayo will be brought in to compete for a starting spot.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears have claimed kicker Roberto Aguayo off of waivers, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Aguayo was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday after just one full season with the team.

Aguayo was selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Drafted with the 59th overall pick, he was the highest-picked kicker since Mike Nugent in 2005. He was a highly-touted prospect coming out of Florida State; he was a three-time All-American and a Lou Grazo Award winner. Aguayo made all 198 of his extra points attempted in his three years there, and he finished with a field goal completion rate of 88.5 percent.

Tampa Bay boldly traded up into the second round to select him, which backfired immediately. He only completed 22 of his 31 field goals - a 71 percent rate - in his rookie season. The Buccaneers brought in veteran Nick Folk to compete with Aguayo, and the former won the battle.

The second-year kicker will be placed in a battle with Connor Barth, whom he beat out for a roster spot last year at Tampa Bay. Neither kicker is coming off of a great year - Barth only made 78.3 percent of his field goals - but Aguayo has better potential. After all, there’s a reason that he was praised so much in college.

Aguayo’s draft profile describes him as an “accurate, clutch kicker but with average leg strength”. As mentioned earlier, though, he failed to put that accuracy on display in his rookie year.

The Bears previously brought in undrafted free agent Andy Phillips to compete for a roster spot at kicker, but he was let go last Sunday. It’s clear that management doesn’t feel quite safe having Barth at the helm, so giving him competition is a smart move.

Aguayo is only 23 years old, which is eight years younger than Barth. If the former Seminole can claim a spot on the 53-man roster - and if he recovers from his rookie campaign - then he could become Chicago’s long-term answer at kicker.