The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Jake Elliott in the fifth round in 2017 and subsequently cut him after training camp. Elliott has had his ups and downs with the Philadelphia Eagles but did have a big kick to help clinch Super Bowl LII. The Bengals haven’t recovered in their quest to find a permanent and consistent placekicker that has a big leg. Based on this, the team drafted a kicker in 2021, also in the fifth round. The Bengals hope that Evan McPherson provides consistency at kicker for the team and they’ve already announced he will start in 2021.
Randy Bullock was a decent kicker for the Bengals but was often inconsistent, especially on kicks 50+ yards and in clutch situations. McPherson has the opportunity to give the Bengals a reliable and strong-legged kicker in the difficult AFC North. Certainly, Cincinnati wishes that McPherson can be their long-term solution at kicker.
Bengals Hope Evan McPherson Provides Consistency at Kicker
McPherson has a positive attitude and is ready to contribute stating “It’s just all the practice that I’ve really put in throughout my whole college career and just feeling that I’m ready for the next step in my career, for the NFL, I feel like I’m in a good spot kicking-wise, and I think I’m kicking the best I ever have right now. I feel really confident going into OTAs and training camp. I’m just excited for this opportunity.”
At the University of Florida, McPherson had an impressive career. The three-year starter was 51-60 on field goals, 149-150 on PATs, and led the SEC with a career FG% of 85%. Darrin Simmons attended McPherson’s Pro Day and was impressed with a 21-22 effort. Simmons also put McPherson through several game-day situations that challenged his mental processing.
Darrin Simmons’s New Weapon
Kicking in the AFC North can be extremely difficult with cold weather and swirling winds playing a factor in many divisional games. McPherson seems to have the clutch gene in regards to big kicks and noted “Some of the biggest kicks I had at Florida, they came in the later minutes (of the game). No walk-offs,” McPherson said. “Either that or at halftime to go up and carry the momentum. But I’m excited for my first walk-off, whenever that will be.”
Simmons and Zac Taylor have to hope they’ve potentially found their version of Justin Tucker and a potent new weapon at kicker.
Can Evan McPherson Be the X-Factor?
Taylor has struggled mightily in one-score games and has an abysmal record of 2-13-1. Even more incredible, is this note from Warren Sharp “over the last 2 years, the Bengals have held a lead at some point in 24 of their 32 games but they won a total of 6 games in the two years combined no team since at least 2000 has led in more games in a two-year span but won fewer than Zac Taylor’s Bengals.”
Enter McPherson, who might just be the X-Factor in all these one-score games and help turn the tide into wins. The NFL has a slim margin for error all the way around but is especially evident for the Bengals.
McPherson will be the Bengals first rookie opening day kicker in 20 years. The team expects he’s the reliable and consistent winning presence for the next 20.
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