Bengals: Rookie offensive lineman is the biggest X-Factor in 2021

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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There are plenty of question marks regarding the Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive line but Jackson Carman had the most pressure on him entering the year. It makes sense that he’s considered the Bengals’ biggest X-factor, at least according to Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report.

Here’s what Sobleski had to say about why he chose Carman as the X-factor:

"While Carman played left tackle for Clemson, the Bengals drafted him to start as their left guard. However, he’s yet to run away with the job.“He’s gotta get himself in peak shape, which I think he’s working his way into that. What we see are the traits that we like in him,” general manager Duke Tobin said, per ESPN’s Ben Baby.Carman can solidify an improved front five, but he must first show he’s capable of making the transition."

To this point, Carman has been a disappointment, especially considering the Bengals spent a second-round pick on him and planned to kick him inside from the start. That transition hasn’t been as smooth as Bengals fans had hoped, as Carman is taking snaps with the third strings.

Jackson Carman is the Bengals’ X-factor

Carman was selected to help the Bengals on the offensive line and so far, he isn’t doing that and looks nowhere close to being able to do that. Not only that, but fourth-round rookie D’Ante Smith, who also played tackle in college, has jumped up the depth chart at left guard. He’s currently listed as the backup left guard while Carman is a third-string right guard.

There’s still time for Carman to turn things around, of course, but the beginning of his NFL career isn’t going according to plan. Stripe Hype’s own Glenn Adams wrote about how the Bengals did a disservice to Carman by selecting him so high and expecting him to immediately be able to contribute to their offensive line.

"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."

This is pretty spot on.

Bengals fans are upset about Carman’s place on the depth chart due to being a second-round pick, as typically, second-round draft choices step in and contribute in some way from Day 1. Carman probably won’t be contributing much unless injuries occur.

Next. 5 Positives, 2 Negatives from Week 1 of Preseason. dark

While it makes sense that Sobleski picked Carman as the X-factor for the Bengals, I’m not sure I agree. As of now, he’s not even in the running for a backup job, let alone a starting position.

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