With the 149th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Florida Gators kicker Evan McPherson. This marked just the 12th time the Bengals have ever drafted a kicker (per PFR) and the second time since 2001.
Regarded as one of, if not the top kicker in this year’s draft, McPherson made 51/60 career field goals at Florida and missed just one of his 150 extra-point tries. He was 5/8 from beyond 50 yards and 11/15 from 40-49 yards.
This is the first time the Bengals have drafted a kicker since they took Jake Elliott with the the 153rd pick in the 2017 draft. Though Elliott didn’t stick with the Bengals, he’s gone on to have a productive career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hopefully, McPherson will do the same in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future.
In terms of draft value, most analysts didn’t have McPherson ranked among the draft’s top 300 prospects, and some didn’t even have him ranked as the top kicker in this year’s class (Miami’s Jose Borregales was ranked No. 1 at several websites).
- ESPN’s Todd McShay had McPherson ranked 309th overall in his final big board and second among kickers.
- Fellow ESPN analyst Mel Kiper did not have McPherson among the top 150 overall prospects but did have the former Gator ranked first among kickers.
- The Draft Network ranked McPherson 425th overall and second among kickers.
- NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave McPherson a 5.85 grade and projected him as a Round 6 pick. That grade was actually higher than Chris Evans (5.84) and Trey Hill (5.69). McPherson was also ranked second among kickers.
- The consensus big board by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan did not have McPherson among its top 300 prospects but did have Borregales ranked 290th.
Looking ahead, McPherson will be in a battle with Austin Seibert, who is just 10/15 on field goals from 40-49 yards and 1/3 from 50+ in his career, so it shouldn’t take an outstanding effort to beat him out.
Frankly, McPherson would have to play pretty bad to lose his roster spot to Seibert, but that’s what exactly happened in the Jake Elliott - Randy Bullock battle in 2017.
Here’s to hoping we don’t see a repeat and McPherson establishes himself as a solid kicker going forward in Cincinnati.