Jackson Carman

Release Candidate: Jackson Carman

The Bengals fell just short of their first ever Super Bowl win this past year and many blamed the loss on a less than stellar offensive line. This issue is something that the Bengals have certainly been attempting to address in the last few drafts selecting four offensive linemen in the last two years and seven in the last four. One of those draft investments may be nearing the end of his opportunities, despite the fact that he is only headed into his second NFL season. 

In a recent roundtable discussion for The Athletic, Bengals writer Jay Morrison put forth the idea that Cincinnati may be losing patience with 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman. The guard out of Clemson was brought in with the expectation that he would take over at right guard as a rookie. Carman was unable to unseat Quinton Spain and, perhaps even more concerning, was unable to provide an improvement anywhere on an offensive line that continued to struggle throughout the season.

The Bengals set out this offseason to nearly completely renovate their offensive line. The team brought in Ted Karras on a three-year, $18MM deal to start at center and signed guard Alex Cappa to a four-year, $40MM contract to start on the left side of the line. In a third big free agency signing, The Bengals were able to ink tackle La’el Collins to a three-year, $21MM deal to start opposite the only bright spot of the offensive line last year, blindside tackle Jonah Williams. Williams became an immediate starter for the Bengals after being selected 11th-overall in 2019 and, after missing six games due to injury as a rookie, Cincinnati was happy to see him start in every game but the season finale last year.

With four spots effectively manned for the 2022 season, that left only the right guard spot left to fill. Once again the door to a starting spot was left wide open for Carman. With a year of NFL conditioning under his belt, all the former second-round pick had to do was step in and not let the job slip through his fingers.

Yet, in the weeks leading up to the regular season, that seems to be exactly what we’re seeing, with reports that fourth-round rookie Cordell Volson seems to be pushing Carman out of the starting role. The lineman out of North Dakota State has experience playing both tackle and guard in college and turned heads early at camp. After impressing the coaching staff in practices and the team’s first preseason game, Volson was offered more of an opportunity to receive first-team reps. Carman certainly didn’t help his own case after testing positive for COVID-19 and granting more playing time for his competition.

The latest danger for Carman’s roster spot comes just after the 53-man roster cuts, when the Bengals made claims on three players, one of them being former second-round pick Max Scharping. Scharping has underwhelmed a bit, as well, in his young career, but has extensive experience over Carman after starting 33 games for the Texans.

Carman has lost two position battles in as many years despite the odds being stacked in his favor. His lack of ability to clinch either of those starting jobs could certainly have resulted in a loss of trust from his coaches. According to Morrison, if Scharping comes in and can quickly get up to speed with the offense, Cincinnati may have no need to retain Carman.

Latest On Bengals Left Guard Competition

The Bengals made a slew of additions along the offensive line this offseason, but one spot is still up for grabs in the build-up to the regular season. The starting left guard position has been a point of focus throughout spring and summer workouts, and will remain a battleground for the next few weeks. 

Jackson Carman, whom the Bengals drafted in the second round last year, registered six starts amongst his 17 appearances as a rookie, playing at both right and left guard. He earned a passable run-blocking PFF grade, but struggled in pass protection, leading to an overall grade of 56.3. While he was the starter at LG on paper following the draft, then, the door has been open to another name emerging to take the spot.

That contender has taken the form of fourth-round rookie Cordell Volson. The North Dakota State alum was named in May as the player who could displace Carman. The former’s performances in practice and the team’s first preseason contest has certainly caught the team’s attention, considering remarks recently made by head coach Zac Taylor.

“He flashes some really good stuff and it’s just the consistency there and learning from your previous mistakes,” Taylor said, via ESPN’s Ben Baby. He added that “by no means is that left guard spot solidified by anybody.”

Carman struggled, by contrast, in that preseason opener, and has now encountered another obstacle. Baby tweets that the Clemson alum tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The time he misses will give Volson further opportunity to receive first-team reps, as he already briefly had been prior to Carman being sidelined.

Cincinnati has left tackle Jonah Williamsalong with free agent signings Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins in place as starters along the o-line. The final spot could remain in the air up to Week 1 of the regular season.

Bengals Set To Complete Offensive Line Renovation

The Bengals fell just short of their first ever Super Bowl win in their third appearance in the league’s season finale. As the final seconds ticked away, analysts’ fingers started pointing, with many of them directed at Cincinnati’s lackluster offensive line. 

In their loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Bengals fielded Trey Hopkins at center, Jonah Williams at left tackle, Isaiah Prince at right tackle, Hakeem Adeniji at left guard, and Quinton Spain at right guard. Hopkins and Spain are free agents, no longer on the roster. Adeniji and Prince retain their roster spots, but are no longer projected to start. Williams, perhaps the only bright spot on the line last year, will return as the blindside blocker.

The Bengals worked ferociously in the offseason to address their deficiencies on offensive line. They signed three free agent offensive lineman who are all expected to come in and start right away. Ted Karras comes to Cincinnati after starting experience at center in both New England and Miami. Alex Cappa comes to town after three strong seasons as the Buccaneers’ starter at right guard. La’el Collins is ready to bookend the line with Williams after years of starting experience at right tackle in Dallas.

With Karras at center, Collins and Williams at tackle, and Cappa at right guard, that leaves one position up for grabs. The current favorite to start at left guard is 2021 second-round draft pick Jackson Carman. Carman served mainly as a backup last year for the Bengals earning six starts on the year while playing in every game. The main concern with starting Carman is the fact that he couldn’t supplant any of the lackluster starters from last year. Perhaps with a year of NFL football under his belt now, Carman will blossom into a strong starter at left guard.

The other favorite to man the last spot on the offensive line comes from Cincinnati’s most recent draft class, according to Ben Baby of ESPN. The Bengals used one draft pick this year on an offensive player, bestowing that honor upon the 23-year-old tackle out of North Dakota State, Cordell Volson. Volson served as the Bison’s right tackle in his last college years, but had experience at all four guard and tackle positions during his time in Fargo. That versatility will certainly come in handy as many college tackles tend to move to an interior lineman position if they aren’t projected to dominate as a tackle at the next level. Volson is sure to give Carman a run for his money as the Bengals look to put the finishing touch on their full offensive line renovation.

All the players mentioned above are the favorites to contribute on the offensive line this year, but the following players will attend camp with the hopes of stealing a starting job. At center, Cincinnati also rosters Trey Hill, Lamont Gaillard, and undrafted rookie Ben Brown. At guard, the Bengals’ roster lists D’Ante Smith and undrafted rookie Desmond Noel. The only tackle on the roster that wasn’t already mentioned is undrafted rookie Devin Cochran.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/15/21

Today’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

New York Giants

Washington Football Team

Bengals Sign Second-Rounder Jackson Carman

The Bengals have signed rookie offensive lineman Jackson Carman, per a club announcement. With Carman in the fold, the Bengals now have eight players signed from their ten-man class.

Carman, taken in Round 2 with the No. 46 overall pick, made his mark as Clemson’s starting left tackle. But, as a pro, the Bengals will shift him over to guard. It’s new territory for Carman, but it’s his best bet to see the field as Jonah Willaims and Riley Reiff man the outside.

Standing at 6’5″ and weighing 335 pounds, Carman already has an NFL build. Some scouts were unsure about his ability to play LT at the next level, but few could knock his natural ability. As a five-star prospect coming out of high school, he was was nationally known before he even arrived on campus.

With the fierce blocker under contract, the Bengals will move on to inking first-round wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and third-round edge rusher Joseph Ossai.