Anytime you have a franchise quarterback without an above average offensive line, you know what your top priority should be: Fix his protection. Really, it’s always advisable to focus on your offensive line until you have a good one, of course. It’s especially vital if you’re protecting someone you intend to give hundreds of millions of dollars to down the line.
The Cincinnati Bengals chose to use their fifth overall pick instead on giving Joe Burrow his favorite wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals did bolster the offensive line in the second round with the selection of Jackson Carman, who will convert from tackle to guard at the NFL level. He talked about that transition during rookie minicamp, for the team’s website.
He told reporters that the biggest adjustment from one position to the other is a surprisingly, let’s say, obvious one: Getting used to “everything being on both sides of you”. Being on the end of the line has certain advantages in that regard, though who have to face some premiere pass rushers.
“We were working on me getting more comfortable in my guard stance and critiquing the nuances and different weight shifting and where my feet exactly should be”, he said of the adjustment work that he has undergone. “Different weight angles and things like that. Just fine tuning some things”.
One advantage that he will have is that he has a college teammate, Michael Jordan, on the team with him who is a guard and can help him with the transition, as well. But he’s also been studying some of the premiere guards in the NFL to learn how they operate.
“I love watching Quenton Nelson, Zack Martin. They are two of the best in the game”, he said. “I actually used to watch Quenton Nelson highlights before every game just to get my mind right and just the intensity I need to play with for the game. Being able to watch guys on tape like that is really going to be able to help me in my transition”.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a bit of a conversion project on their hands as well, at least to a certain degree. Third-round pick Kendrick Green spent the majority of his career playing guard, but Pittsburgh is shifting him to center, after making just a few starts there in college.
Carman figures to be a day one starter for the Bengals, but they will still be second-guessed for passing on tackle Penei Sewell in the first round, a decision they hope not to regret. Former first-round pick Jonah Williams projects to be their left tackle, while free agent signing Riley Reiff will start on the right side.