Assessing the value Bengals got in Jackson Carman

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Carman is expected to begin his career at guard but could eventually move to tackle.

With the 46th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals snagged Clemson offensive lineman Jackson Carman. The pick was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots that saw Cincinnati move down and get two extra fourth-round picks, which turned into Tyler Shelvin and D’Ante Smith.

Carman, weighing in at 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds, played in 40 career games (27 starts) with the Tigers, helping them claim three berths in the College Football Playoff.

Carman is a native of Fairfield (OH) who played at Fairfield High School, which is just outside of Cincinnati. He played offensive tackle in college at Clemson, and while he could eventually move there in the pros, the Bengals feel he’ll make a bigger impact in Year 1 competing for a starting guard spot, while Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff lock down the tackle spots.

In terms of value, Carman was viewed as a reach in Round 2, though not by a gross amount like Drew Sample in 2019. And part of his value not being higher was due to him having offseason back surgery, though he’s expected to be 100% for his rookie campaign.

ESPN’s Todd McShay had Carman ranked 78th overall in his final big board and fourth among offensive guards.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper had Carman ranked 102nd overall and 13th among offensive tackles.

The Draft Network ranked Carman 69th overall.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave Carman a 6.22 grade (Will be starter within first two seasons) and a Round 3 projection.

The consensus big board by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan had Carman checking in at 73rd overall.

Heading into Year 1 of his pro career, Carman has a golden opportunity to be a starting guard. He only needs to beat out two of Michael Jordan, Billy Price Quinton Spain and Xavier Su’a-Filo to do so.

Because Trey Hopkins (ACL) could be sidelined early in the season, Price may be the starting center. I also believe Su’a-Filo is a strong cap casualty candidate, so Carman could be gifted a starting role in Week 1, though he has all the potential to earn it and provide a nice upgrade at a position that’s hindered this team for several years now.

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