The Bengals traded back from No. 38 in the second round, but still drafted offensive line help for the immediate and long-term future, then got an instant-impact edge player.
It was a near-certainty that the Cincinnati Bengals were going to draft offensive line help on Night 2. There were a plethora of quality names for Zac Taylor and Co. to choose from when they were on the clock at pick No. 38.
Instead, they traded with the New England Patriots and netted two fourth-round picks in the process. Unfortunately, many of the names that were likely on their shortlist began flying off of the board within the eight picks from which they moved away.
Here are the winners and losers from these picks.
Frank Pollack: The offensive line’s savior got to aid in the first selection of his position group since returning to the team this offseason. Pollack gets to put his thumbprint on the young man, who has immense athleticism for his size, but needs refining of technique.
Carman also gives the old-school line coach some versatility. The current belief is that Carman will kick inside to guard as he’s groomed to take over at right tackle after Riley Reiff departs the team.
Joe Burrow: Everyone has been clamoring for high-end offensive line help and the Bengals responded. The Bengals opted to not draft a lineman until the sixth round last year and paid for it in 2020.
Carman provides a potential short-term solution at right guard, as well as a long-term one at right tackle. While he needs some coaching up, he has some good tape blocking for another No. 1 quarterback pick in Trevor Lawrence, so he has been trusted to protect gigantic assets for high-profile teams in the past.
Joe Mixon: Carman is big (6’6”, 328) and should provide aid in the run game. Travis Etienne was extremely productive for the Tigers, so this pick should be music to Mixon’s ears.
Since his entrance in the league, the Bengals’ offensive line has been a patchwork group because of a lethal combination of free agency attrition, injuries and draft misses. Carman brings size and athleticism up front, hopefully being able to pave the way for the team’s franchise running back.
Anyone who catches the football: It’s no secret that, aside from Trey Hopkins, the interior of the Bengals’ offensive line and right tackle spot have been the Achilles’ heel for the team in recent years. As mentioned above, Carman provides an opportunity to help both of those areas, one at a time.
As a result, more time for Joe Burrow and the potential to bring some semblance of balance with the run game which should open things up for the tight end and receiver corps. And, in case you didn’t hear, the Bengals made a pretty lofty draft investment in the receiving department last night at No. 5 overall.
Lou Anarumo: The team has really committed itself to Anarumo and his vision. After making some splashy free agency investments on his side of the ball the past two offseasons, Cincinnati got him another edge toy to play with in 2021.
Joseph Ossai is an interesting player and one that wasn’t normally taken in the Marvin Lewis era. One of this year’s “‘tweeners” could provide nice rotational pass rush help this year behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard.
Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard: Speaking of those defensive ends, adding a rotational piece can spell them and put them in better situations. One of them could conceivably kick inside at times to give Ossai his natural spot on the edge.
Having as many able pass-rushers as possible is always at a premium in the NFL. We’ll see if Ossai can blossom into as effective as a player as Carl Lawson was, even if they are in different physical molds.
The team’s medical staff: The folks within the Bengals’ employ who have been treating and diagnosing medical issues has long been a point of contention with fans. Longtime supporters of Cincinnati don’t forget instances like those with Antonio Bryant and countless other head-scratcher scenarios very easily and this staff will come under scrutiny here.
Obviously, the Bengals’ powers-that-be were comfortable enough with Carman’s medical red flags (back) to take him with a premium pick. But, if they whiff on the evaluation again and we end up talking about a potential lingering issue and/or redshirt rookie season, the group will catch hell.
Michael Jordan and Xavier Su’a-Filo: These two were grinding for starting spots, as Quinton Spain is presumably going to back to his natural left guard spot. With all hands on deck being needed to aid the offensive line this year, Carman could wow the coaches early enough to grab on to the starting right guard gig.
Su’a-Filo was more of a Jim Turner system guy and Jordan has not developed anywhere near to expectation. Again, with Carman being a “Pollack guy” and the other two being favorites of the previous line coach, the rookie out of Clemson could push the veterans out of the picture quickly.