Evan McPherson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft as the likely replacement for journeyman kicker Austin Seibert. Seibert was brought in at the end of last season to replace Randy Bullock who was out with a calf injury. Bullock is probably finished with the Bengals.
McPherson made 149 of 150 extra-point attempts and 51 out of 60 field-goal attempts with 302 points in three seasons with Florida. The big leg McPherson has is why he was drafted in the fifth round. McPherson was 11-15 on field goal attempts from 40-49 yards and 5-8 from 50 or more yards with a long of 55.
McPherson averaged 61.7 yards per kickoff with 136 touchbacks on 241 attempts. Seibert averaged 64.4 yards per kickoff in four games with Cincinnati last season. With 13 out of his 18 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks, Seibert had far more success on kickoffs in 2020 over McPherson.
The emphasis in the competition to become the Bengals kicker will be placed more on accuracy and range on field goals, but McPherson clearly has to improve his kickoffs. Seibert was 5-5 on field goals inside of 40 yards in 2020, but only 1-3 for 40 yards or more. Seibert previously spent 2019 with the Cleveland Browns.
Seibert was waived by Cleveland following the 2020 season opener and claimed by the Bengals. After being on two teams during his first two seasons in the NFL, Seibert will have to perform exceptionally well in training camp and preseason games to have any chance to maintain his sport as the Cincinnati kicker.
McPherson will have to get adjusted to the cold and windy weather that accompanies playing in the AFC North. That is an impossible task to prove during training camp and the preseason. McPherson is originally from Fort Payne, Alabama and somehow wound up at Florida. Now McPherson journeys north.
Drafting McPherson will hopefully stabilize the Bengals kicking. Teams do not draft kickers in the fifth round without projecting them to be on the team long term. McPherson’s range will be critical with Cincinnati having what should be a potent offense in 2021 and beyond. McPherson projects for a long career.