Roberto Aguayo is headed to the National Football League…
The 21-year-old Latino kicker, who played for Florida State, was picked in the second round of the NFL draft.
Aguayo, the 59th pick overall, was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the highest-drafted kicker since Mike Nugent in 2005.
The NFL’s lengthened extra point has put new emphasis on the play, now effectively a 33-yard attempt. Aguayo was perfect on his 198 PATs in college. More pertinent, the 2013 Lou Groza Award winner was 69-for-78 (88.5%) on field-goal tries and didn’t miss on any of his 49 attempts inside 40 yards.
Aguayo, quarterback Jameis Winston‘s teammate at FSU, expressed a desire to play for the Bucs and seems likely to hold the job for years to come.
But Aguayo wasn’t the only Latino footballer picked during this year’s NFL draft…
Blake Martinez is headed to the Green Bay Packers…
The Packers selected the Latino inside from Stanford with the 131st pick, which arrived late in the fourth round, and contained a bit of a premonition from his mother, Carrisa Martinez.
“The funny part of it was, (my mom) was always telling me throughout the process, she was like, ‘I believe you’re going to end up at the Packers,'” Martinez said on a conference call. “And obviously it was just a lucky guess type of thing, but it’s just funny. My mom said right after, ‘Moms are always right.’ And I’ll take it.”
When his moment arrived, Martinez donned a green Packers hat and matching gray T-shirt, and immediately posted a family photo on social media. His father, Marc, had bought the gear in a pre-draft shopping spree that accumulated gear from all 32 teams — just in case.
Martinez, who stands 6 feet 1 1/2 inches and weighs 240 pounds, earned All-American honors in 2015 and was also named first-team all-Pac-12.
He recorded a team-high 141 tackles last season, and his 10.1 tackles per game led the conference.
The Packers, according to director of football operations Eliot Wolf, were enamored of Martinez’s all-around game. He flashed the ability to blitz, evidenced by 13 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks over the last two years. He expressed confidence in his ability to cover, and Martinez said he served as the main coverage linebacker in nickel and dime packages last season. His 40-yard dash time of 4.67 seconds is far from blazing, but Wolf said the Packers have no qualms about his mobility or range.
“I felt like this last year I improved tremendously on that,” Martinez said. “I feel 100% confident to go out there and cover whoever I need to cover.”
Oklahoma’s Zack Sanchez was picked in Round 5 by the Carolina Panthers.
The 21-year-old Latino cornerback, picked 141st overall, is a ball-hawk who intercepted 13 passes over the past two seasons. His seven picks in 2015 tied for fifth nationally. Sanchez was not afraid to gamble, and sometimes paid for his mistakes. During his career at Oklahoma, he also recorded 134 tackles and three touchdowns.
“He’s instinctive. I think when you get into the fourth or fifth rounds, and find a cornerback with some instincts, this is a great pick,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.
Thomas Duarte is switching coasts…
The 21-year-old half-Mexican American receiver, who played for UCLA, was picked in the seventh round by the Miami Dolphins.
The 231st pick overall, the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Duarte was drafted as a tight end.
Duarte turned pro with a season of eligibility remaining. He ranked second on the Bruins last season with 53 receptions for 872 yards and a team-best 10 touchdown receptions.