Bengals: D’Ante Smith could make his first NFL start vs. Lions

D'Ante Smith, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
D'Ante Smith, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals might see another change to their offensive line this weekend against the Lions. Rookie guard Jackson Carman landed on the COVID-19 list and if he’s not cleared to play, another rookie could be filling his shoes.

D’Ante Smith, who was selected in the fourth round, has had a similar journey so far in the pros to that of Carman. He played tackle in college and then switched to guard during training camp and that appears to be where he’ll stay for the time being.

If Carman can’t play this weekend, Smith will make not only his NFL debut but his first-ever NFL start against the winless Detroit Lions.

Bengals rookie D’Ante Smith might get to play this weekend.

While Carman is slotted in at right guard, Smith might not necessarily be the choice there. He only played left guard over the summer so Carman missing the game could lead to current left guard Quinton Spain moving over to right guard (where he has experience) and Smith taking over at left guard.

Hopefully, Carman gets cleared to play and this won’t even be a storyline but it’s definitely something that could realistically happen if Carman is not cleared.

The rookie out of Clemson has impressed during his three starts so far and it’s likely that even when Xavier Su’a-Filo returns from IR that he won’t be getting his job back.

Smith showed some potential over the summer but that was against backups and third-stringers. He’d be going against full-fledged starters this time and yes, while it’s against the Lions, they’re still professionals and would throw everything they have at the rookie.

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Again, hopefully, this isn’t something that happens (no offense to Smith) but if it does, we’ll see another rookie at one of the guard spots on Sunday in the Motor City.