Bengals: Comparing Jackson Carman’s progress to other Day 2 linemen

Glenn Adams
Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Quinton Spain (67) and guard Jackson Carman (79) walk between drills during the first day of Cincinnati Bengals OTAs at the Paul Brown Stadium practice field in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.Cincinnati Bengals Ota
Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Quinton Spain (67) and guard Jackson Carman (79) walk between drills during the first day of Cincinnati Bengals OTAs at the Paul Brown Stadium practice field in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.Cincinnati Bengals Ota /
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As of now, Cincinnati Bengals‘ second-round rookie Jackson Carman is not starting at guard. This has caused some consternation among the fanbase.

Looking at all the offensive linemen drafted from 38 to 105, you may find that there are reasons some fans were not happy with what the Bengals did. You will also find reasons to be patient and why the Bengals track with the majority of the NFL in this regard.

Reasons for Cincinnati Bengals fans not to panic

When looking at the linemen selected in the second and third rounds, there is a mixed bag of what is happening as far as depth charts are concerned.

There is a lot of what we hear as Bengals fans, which is, “it’s early,” “he has to compete,” “he has to learn what it’s like in the NFL,” “he’s not going to be handed the job,” “it’s all about competition” types of things. So the Bengals are far from alone where this is concerned.

Other Day 2 offensive line, which include Wyatt Davis (TEN), Walker Little (JAX), Dillon Radunz (TEN), Brady Christensen (CAR) and Robert Hainsey (TB) are all second string on their respective depth charts.

  • Denver is hoping that third-rounder, Quinn Meinerz can push for the starting center job, but for now, he is second on the Broncos’ depth chart.
  • Liam Eichenberg is in a similar situation in Miami. Currently, he is second string, but the team hopes he can push for the starting right tackle spot.
  • Jalen Mayfield (ATL), Spencer Brown (BUF) and Sam Cosmi (WSH) are getting reps with the first team because of injury/covid protocols the starters are dealing with.
  • Tevin Jenkins (CHI) is dealing with a back injury, which is never a good sign.

Jackson Carman is in this group. The majority of linemen here will have to battle, fight, and learn their way in the NFL. Therefore, from this perspective, the Bengals track with most teams.

Cause for concern for Cincinnati Bengals fans

  • Creed Humphrey (KC) along with third-rounder Kendrick Green (PIT) are the only full-on starters from the list of second and third-rounders.
  • It should be noted that Kansas City has two rookie starters along its offensive line. There is also guard Trey Smith who was selected in the sixth round, No. 226 overall. A lot of teams passed on this first-round talent because of blood clot issues but he is now a starter for the 2019 champions and 2020 runner-ups.
  • The Packers’ Josh Myers appears to be the front-runner for the starting center spot in Green Bay.
  • Aaron Banks is in a roster battle competing for the starting right guard position. He must feel really good about his chances to pull this off…
  • It also appears that third-rounder, Ben Cleveland (BAL), is pushing for a starting guard spot in Baltimore.

What may be particularly frustrating is that the Bengals had two (technically three because of trading back) chances to select a right guard in Cleveland. Hearing that Carman has to adjust to a new position and it can take time as opposed to seeing a division foe draft a plug and play guard a full round later is disappointing.

I mentioned this on Twitter prior to the draft.

With players like Walker Little and Quinn Meinerz, they might be second-string for now, but it does not sound like it will be that way for long.

Keeping score at home 

If this were a game of spades, someone might say “four and a possible.” Four or five out of 16 linemen drafted between 38 and 105 in the draft will immediately be starters for their teams as of today.

Why this matters from a Cincinnati Bengals perspective:

This is important because if the most important thing going into this offseason was to protect Joe Burrow with a new and improved offensive line, some teams have newer and more improved offensive lines than the Bengals. It may be improved, but the only “new” is right tackle, Riley Reiff. That is until Carman or D’Ante Smith plays with the first team.

Furthermore, an early second-round pick, number 38 overall is a very valuable pick. Ideally, teams would like to come away with a starter or a contributor. If that player is going to be drafted to fill a need, especially after passing on that position of need with the best player at said position still there in the first round, you better not miss.

Finally, from a player evaluation standpoint, it is fair to question if the team properly prospects for the aforementioned weak spot. It is not a coincidence that Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and possibly Green Bay are among the teams that found starters in the draft along their offensive lines.

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It is early and things can change. It remains, however, disappointing that, thus far at least, the Bengals’ second-round pick cannot quite crack the starting lineup.

No matter what the reasons are. Cheers to hoping that becomes different as the preseason progresses.

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