There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line this offseason, as was the case last year. Oh yeah, and the year before that as well, but this was the year that that was going to be fixed.
One of the faces of the new-look offensive line and Joe Burrow’s hope of staying upright this year is second-round rookie, Jackson Carman. Well, the Bengals have not done Carman any favors.
Cincinnati has fallen into the concept of “being able to play multiple positions” when it comes to the offensive line.
If there is a player who you love in the draft, he should be selected in great part because of what he has done on tape. Sure, maybe a guy can play center, but if you have not seen him do it and the team needs a center, maybe draft a center instead. If the team needs a right guard, perhaps draft a right guard, etc.
Carman was a left tackle at Clemson and he was drafted because of what he did at left tackle, but now he is a guard, because…?
There was a big deal made of the Bengals depth chart, which has Carman listed as a third-string guard. Just know that if Carman was listed as a tackle, he would be just behind Jonah Williams at left tackle, which right now, that spot belongs to Hakeem Adeniji who is currently believed to be lost for the year due to a torn pec. It should also be noted that Adeniji and Carman are both listed as guards on the Bengals’ official roster.
Furthermore, the “multiple position thing” is not required of everyone.
Riddle me this, if “iron sharpens iron” as is said in various Twitter mentions throughout the Bengals-verse, why not let Carman battle Williams for the left tackle position? Then, maybe the “runner up” at that competition could battle for a guard or right tackle spot, but that would be preposterous. However, do not be surprised to see Carman take snaps at left tackle with the second team in the preseason.
Also, the amount of pressure heaped upon his broad shoulders is almost unfair. He was not drafted in the first round. Nevertheless, he is the face and hope of the new-look offensive line and Burrow’s hope of staying upright this year. He is a symbol of the franchise doing everything it takes to protect their young franchise quarterback. But hey, no pressure big fella.
Cincinnati Bengals aren’t giving Jackson Carman fair chance
He was expected to be a plug-and-play player at a position that he has not played. Mr. Carman, just come in and supplant two offensive guards with a total of 15 years of NFL experience between the both of them. We know you have never played the position, but hey, it was written. “So shall it be written, so shall it be done” as they say in “Roys Realm.”
The Bengals’ grade on Jackson Carman was higher than all pre-draft prognostications. Carman was expected to be picked in the third round.
For perspective, Mel Kiper ranked Carman as his 13th best tackle in the draft. His 14th best was D’Ante Smith who the Bengals chose in the fourth round. If the Bengals had decided to select Carman in the third, assuming he would still be available, there would be a lot less angst about his position on the initial depth chart.
Moreover, it would allow him to progress with less scrutiny, much in the same way as Smith has been able to do. Smith has been allowed to progress and find his place along the offensive line. The same opportunity has not been afforded to Carman who has been shoehorned into one spot thus far.
There was talk before the draft that Carman may end up being a better guard than tackle, yet, his third-round grades were based on him playing tackle. It would be interesting to know how he would have been ranked if he were graded simply as a guard. He would more than likely have been listed as a fourth-rounder in such a scenario.
Yes, maybe his eventual spot will be guard. Perhaps the Bengals would be better served to try him at left guard before forcing him to the other side of the line, but why not see what he has a left tackle first?
It is early and the young tackle — err, guard — is still finding his way. Hopefully, he will.
The Bengals just need to make sure they are putting him in the best position to succeed. Not only for his sake, but the team’s as well.