Cincinnati Bengals fans need no reminder that the team has lacked consistency at kicker in recent years. The first game of the Joe Burrow era should have gone into overtime if not for a missed chip-shot field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Adding a kicker was a must going into the draft, and Evan McPherson is widely considered to be the best kicking prospect in the draft. The Bengals made an aggressive move by taking him early in Round 5, though he was given a Round 6 grade by NFL.com.
What McPherson brings to the Bengals
After setting an SEC record for career field-goal percentage and a school record for successful kicks of over 50 yards, McPherson brings his talents to Cincinnati where he will be paired with the league’s top special teams coach.
McPherson is extremely accurate. He went 149/150 on extra points in his three seasons at Florida. He also made 51 of 60 field goals, including four from over 50 yards.
He has accuracy and power on both field goals and kickoffs.
Why the Bengals picked McPherson
The Bengals special teams units have been excellent overall, but kicker was a major need.
Randy Bullock is gone, leaving only Cleveland Browns castaway Austin Seibert to fill his mismatched kicking shoes in Cincinnati. They needed to add a kicker to compete for the job.
The Bengals have a nice little tie to McPherson. Former Bengals kicker Shayne Graham is the special teams quality control coach at the University of Florida. Graham was actually brought to the Bengals by special teams coach Darrin Simmons after the two were briefly together with the Carolina Panthers.
That’s a strong connection. You can guarantee that Simmons and Graham speak the same language when it comes to the kick game and that the Bengals got great information on McPherson.
Of course, we have been here before. The Bengals selected Jake Elliott in Round 5 of the 2017 NFL Draft. After a tight competition with Bullock throughout camp, Elliott faltered down the stretch, then was placed on the practice squad and promptly poached by the Philadelphia Eagles.
McPherson is an excellent prospect and appears to have a clearer path to winning the job in 2021.