The Cincinnati Bengals Wouldn’t Be Here Without Evan McPherson

The Cincinnati Bengals Wouldn’t Be Here Without Evan McPherson

Willie Lutz
10 months ago
2 min read
Evan McPherson watches as he drills the game winning 52 yard field goal that sends the Cincinnati Bengals to the AFC Championship where they will face Kansas City.

Much has been made of the Cincinnati Bengals young star talent. When folks discuss that star talent, however, most forget to insert the name Evan McPherson. 

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, there were outlets who slammed the Bengals for selecting the 22-year-old kicker out of the University of Florida. Now, knocking the selection of McPherson feels quite silly. 

Let this Bengals run to the AFC Championship Game be a referendum on drafting kickers.

Four times this season, the Bengals have set up their rookie kicker for a game-winning field goal at the gun. Three of the four times, he’s cashed in… the other time was an incredibly strange miss-off with the Green Bay Packers. 

The most recent make is the one that will live in the heads of football fans for at least a little while. With just seconds on the clock, Evan McPherson delivered a perfect strike of a 52-yard field goal to end the season of the AFC’s top-seeded Tennessee Titans. 

With that being said, the Bengals are never in this moment without McPherson being on their team. Simply put, the rookie kicker has elevated himself to the Justin Tucker tier in just one season. 

Want the numbers to go along with the story? McPherson led the league in made kicks at or beyond the 50-yard line (9), set the Bengals franchise record for longest field goal (5 8 yards), and finished tied for fourth in total points scored per game (8.1).

Not to mention, he’s been the best kicker in the playoffs. McPherson is a perfect 8-of-8 on field goal attempts, 3-of-3 on PATs, and is second only to Buffalo’s Gabriel Davis with 27 points scored. 

Clearly, Cincinnati made the right choice moving on from much beleaguered kicker Randy Bullock, who was a fine journeyman but uninspiring in big moments. 

Adding McPherson’s leg talent elevated the Bengals and gave them an edge that directly helped lift them to the playoffs. 

So, that raises the question… how highly would McPherson be drafted if he was available in this year’s draft (building in his 2021 season towards the consideration)? Seemingly, there’s no chance he’d make it to the fifth round again. Frankly, it would be hard to imagine McPherson going anywhere later than the third round (and you wouldn’t be crazy to say he’s worth a late first). 

Generational talents at the kicker position will become available in future drafts. They might not be picked in the first round like Sebastian Janikowski in 2000, but it’s hard to imagine the McPhersons, Daniel Carlsons, etc., of the world falling to the back end of drafts. 

Advice to other teams? Go get your McPherson. 

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