CLEMSON — When Clemson needed stability, Jackson Carman delivered the last two years.
The offensive lineman more than held his own at left tackle for the Tigers, making sure Trevor Lawrence didn’t have to worry about pressure coming from his blindside. The Cincinnati Bengals obviously know that they can rely on Carman, as they selected him with the 46th overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday.
Carman is Clemson’s highest-selected offensive lineman since the Detroit Lions picked Dave Thompson with the No. 30 overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft. Carman, an Ohio native, is returning back to his home state to play in the NFL.
“Knowing that I was going to be able to be home was indescribable,” Carman said. “Just one of the best moments of my life. Surreal, it’s amazing.”
The former five-star prospect made an immediate impact as a freshman at Clemson, recording over 200 total snaps. Carman slid into the tackle position when four-year starter Micah Hyatt left before the 2019 season, starting all 15 games. He helped slow down eventual No. 2 overall pick Chase Young in the College Football Playoff semifinals that year, boosting his draft stock in the process.
Carman had another strong year in 2020, earning second-team All-ACC honors and helping the Tigers back to another CFP appearance. The strong junior year led Carman to declare for the NFL Draft early. Carman’s body of work at tackle is strong, but his 6-foot-5, 335-pound frame fits well at both the tackle and guard position at the next level.
The Bengals believe Carman can be a versatile offensive lineman for them, and Carman is ready to help however he can.
“I’m super excited it worked out the way it did,” Carman said. “I’m definitely the type of guy that’s a team player, and whatever the team needs me to do for the team to win I’m gonna do it. If that means me playing guard I’m going to do it at the highest level. I’m excited for my opportunity wherever it’s going to be.”
Carman will be reunited with his former teammate Tee Higgins in Cincinnati. The Bengals picked the former Clemson star wideout in the second round last year.
Higgins had 67 catches for 908 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie this past year.
“That was one of the first things I thought about. He’s probably one of my favorite college receivers of all time,” Carman said. “His strength at the point of attack on the ball is remarkable. Knowing I’m going to be able to play with one of my favorite players of all-time who is also one of my good friends is awesome.”