With their second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Clemson's Jackson Carman. It's been a move that has not been viewed favorably over the past two years but there's still time to make it count.
Carman played left tackle at Clemson but the Bengals planned to kick him inside to guard from the start. As a rookie, Carman made six starts with 462 snaps to his name with most of those being taken at the right guard spot, though he did take over 100 snaps at left guard, per PFF. Carman finished his rookie season with a PFF grade of 56.3 but it felt like Bengals fans didn't get to know his style of play very well that year.
In year two, Carman had every opportunity to win the starting left guard job but failed to do so, losing out to fourth-round rookie Cordell Volson. It was not a good look, as Carman was a second-round pick who had been beaten out by a Day 3 rookie.
Carman ended up appearing in only three games and was actually a healthy scratch for most of the regular season. The Clemson product saw the majority of his playing time in the playoffs, as he filled in for Jonah Williams at left tackle when Williams went down in the Wild Card game. Carman finished the playoffs with an overall PFF grade of 58.1.
What should Bengals fans expect from Jackson Carman in 2023?
Fans were pleasantly surprised with Carman's performance during the playoffs but it was a small sample size. He did allow one sack and was flagged twice so it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, however.
Carman is entering the third year of his career and the expectation is that he will be the backup left tackle to Orlando Brown Jr. Carman will also probably be the first one up at right tackle if Williams has to miss time due to La'el Collins landing on the PUP list. Sure, he's competing for the right tackle job in camp but no one actually expects him to unseat Williams for that job.
This is a make-or-break year for Carman. Maybe he gets his big break at some point but more than likely, he serves as a backup this year and then enters next season as either a depth piece or a cap casualty.