CLEMSON — Jackson Carman did not work out at Clemson’s Pro Day in March as he recovered from a back injury.
The former Tigers offensive lineman provided details on just what the injury was after being drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday.
“I played the last five games of the season with a herniated disk,” Carman revealed. “I had surgery on the 19th of January and was just really able to have a great recovery. I’m glad I got it taken care of early and everything healed well and recovered well.”
Carman held his own workout in April and performed well enough to be drafted No. 46 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Friday night that Cincinnati has no concerns about Carman’s health.
“We would’ve taken him at 38. We would’ve felt very great about that,” Taylor said. “Moved back, still got the player we wanted.”
Carman will be reunited with former Clemson star receiver Tee Higgins in Cincinnati. The Bengals selected Higgins in the second round last year, before going with Carman on Friday.
“Having great conversations over the last couple of years with coach [Dabo] Swinney down at Clemson, he’s really helped us with Tee and Jackson,” Taylor said.
Jackson Carman to play guard for Bengals
Taylor also revealed Friday night that Cincinnati drafted Carman with the intent of playing him at guard.
Carman played left tackle during his time at Clemson, although he did cross-train at guard during practices, particularly early on in his career.
Taylor described Carman as “versatile” and said he could play tackle if needed, but he will at least start out at guard.
“He’s got tremendous athleticism. There’s a lot of things that we like about this guy. He can anchor, pass protect. He gets great movement in the run game. He’s a real good athlete. He has high, high football IQ,” Taylor said.
“All the game tape is of him playing tackle. Just conversations with the staff down there at Clemson, they cross-train all of those guys. So he gets a lot of work at guard as they continue to develop younger guys at tackle. So he’s got plenty of work there.”
Carman expects the transition to be an easy one for him.
“I’m definitely physically prepared to play any position. … I’ve been trying to be well-rounded,” Carman said.
“I definitely think I’m a very smart, intelligent, instinctive football player who has a good mind for the game. I think I’m a great athlete. I have great natural balance and athleticism. And I think that I play with great effort and intensity and really try to finish people. I’m always learning and looking for ways to get better.”