With their fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Florida kicker Evan McPherson. The kicking history in Cincinnati wasn't great but McPherson changed all of that with a strong rookie season that saw him kick the Bengals into both the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl and looking like a badass in the process.
As a rookie, McPherson immediately became a fan favorite when he kicked the game-winning field goal in an overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings in his first-ever NFL game. Aside from a rough game against the Green Bay Packers (where Mason Crosby also struggled), it felt as though McPherson was always coming through in the clutch for the Stripes.
He finished his rookie season with 84.8% of field goals made and he only missed two extra points the entire regular season. In his second year, McPherson dropped off a little bit but he was still pretty dang good, knocking through 82.8% of his field goals. He missed four extra-points in the 2022 season.
What should Bengals fans expect from Evan McPherson in 2023?
McPherson has proven himself to be one of the best kickers in the league and that shouldn't stop in his third year. Most kickers go through a bit of a slump at some point during the season (except for Justin Tucker, who is not human) so Bengals fans shouldn't panic when McPherson struggles, assuming it's not for more than a game or two.
While taking a kicker in the fifth round of the draft was a bit surprising at the time, the Bengals showed that it was a smart move and other teams have followed suit when it comes to draft kickers. McPherson was a pivotal player for them during their magical 2021 season that saw them reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989 and this is an organization that won't take a good kicker for granted.