With the 46th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Jackson Carman out of Clemson. It was a bit of a surprising pick at the time since the Bengals made it clear they were going to move Carman inside to one of the guard spots rather than keep him at his preferred position of left tackle.
Well, Carman is in the third year of his career and he has not added much to the Bengals offensive line. He made six starts in 2021 but finished with an overall PFF grade of 44.9. The next year he only suited up for three games and was a healthy scratch for the majority of the season. He did play decently in the AFC Divisional Round against the Bills but that's about the only true positive when it comes to Carman.
This year, Carman has appeared in just one game and has been inactive for over half of the games. Simply put: Carman has not been worthy of a second-round pick. Who could the Bengals have drafted instead? Let's take a look.
3. Creed Humphrey (Drafted 63rd overall by the Chiefs)
Seventeen picks after the Bengals took Carman, the Chiefs got an absolute steal at the end of the second round when they nabbed Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey to be their starting center. Humphrey started for KC right away, played in every game, and finished his rookie season with a PFF grade of 91.4 while surrendering just one sack.
To put that into perspective, Trey Hopkins, the Bengals' starting center in 2021, had an overall grade of 51.4 and gave up four sacks. Humphrey could have been the difference for this team in the Super Bowl but he was on a different team.
While the Bengals went out and signed Ted Karras, a fan favorite, the next offseason, there's no debating that Humphrey would have been a baller on this offensive line. Maybe drafting him changes the trajectory of where this offensive line has been over the past several seasons. Or, maybe he's good but the rest of the unit is bad.
Either way, it sucks that Humphrey was on the board when the Bengals went with Carman instead. The only saving grace here is that Karras has been pretty good and the fans love him.