The Cincinnati Bengals released their first depth chart on Monday and there were plenty of surprises. One of the biggest surprises, though, was that second-round rookie Jackson Carman was listed as the third-string right guard.
Now, Carman not being listed as a starter isn’t that much of a shocker. After all, this is a guy who played tackle at Clemson and was expected to jump into a new position after being drafted by the Bengals.
To this point, Carman hasn’t impressed but he’s a rookie learning a new position. It’s not easy to transition from tackle to guard and Carman is learning that the hard way.
Jackson Carman has to prove himself to the Cincinnati Bengals
The starting offensive line per the depth chart is Jonah Williams at left tackle, Quinton Spain at left guard, Trey Hopkins at center, Michael Jordan at right guard, and Riley Reiff at right tackle. Carman being a third-stringer at right guard (behind Jordan and Xavier Su’a-Filo) was surprising but D’Ante Smith being named as the backup left guard was even more surprising.
Smith is a fourth-round rookie who the Bengals initially liked as the backup right tackle behind Reiff. Smith playing tackle didn’t go well in practice but once he kicked inside to guard, however, he’s been showing great potential. He wowed enough to land the backup job in the first depth chart.
The Bengals have a lot of questions to answer when it comes to their offensive line and figuring out Carman’s role is one of those questions they need to find an answer for. The rookie out of Clemson is going to be in the mix for a starting guard spot but the competition has only gotten steeper with Smith now throwing his hat into the ring.
With five guys vying for two spots, Carman has his work cut out for him. Per Ben Baby’s tweet above, Duke Tobin likes what he sees from Carman but noted that the rookie still has plenty of work ahead of him if he wants to slide into a starting role.
For now, however, it’s a good thing that Carman isn’t in one of the two starting positions. He has to work toward getting there.