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Browns were targeting Evan McPherson before Bengals snatched him

Turns out the Bengals were smart to draft Evan McPherson.

Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals caught plenty of criticism for drafting kicker Evan McPherson in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Many talking heads laughed at the idea of even drafting a kicker. Many believe teams should wait until very late in the draft for kickers, or even sign them as undrafted free agents.

It turns out, if Cincinnati listened to conventional wisdom, they would have missed out on McPherson altogether and potentially faced him twice a season.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network revealed the Cleveland Browns planned on drafting the rookie out of Florida as early as the very next round.

McPherson has hit four game-winning field goals in his rookie year. That includes a chip-shot to give the Bengals the AFC North title by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs and a 52-yard field goal to send Cincinnati back to the AFC Championship game for the first time in over 30 seasons.

That doesn’t also take into account the number of games his nine 50-yard regular season field goals changed the tides of games.

Last season, those drives would have likely ended in fourth-down attempts or simply punts rather than points. He has simply been one of the most impactful players for the Bengals this season.

Even if the Bengals didn’t select McPherson in Round 5, they had two more selections prior to the Browns’ next pick in Round 6. However, you can never predict how teams will trade to move around in those late rounds.

Cincinnati is just finally happy to have their guy. It doesn’t hurt he also seems to have that same swagger that quarterback Joe Burrow has brushed off on the rest of the team by calling his shot before his game-winning field goal against the Tennessee Titans.

There is no telling where this team would be without Money Mac’s leg.