The Bengals have made a slew of additions along the offensive line this offseason, but a spot is still up for grabs in the regular season buildup. The starting left guard position has been a focus throughout spring and summer training, and will remain a battleground for the next few weeks.
Jackson Carman, who the Bengals drafted in the second round last year, has six starts in his 17 rookie appearances, playing at both right and left guard. He earned a passable run-blocking PFF rating but struggled to protect passes, leading to an overall rating of 56.3. While he was a starter at LG on paper after the draft, the door was opened for another emerging name to take the place.
This competitor took the form of a rookie in the fourth round CordellVolson. The North Dakota State alum was named in May as the player who could replace Carman. The former’s performances in training and the team’s first pre-season contest have certainly caught the attention of the team, given recent remarks made by the head coach Zac Taylor.
“He’s showing some really good things and it’s just the consistency there and learning from your previous mistakes,” Taylor said, via ESPN’s Ben Baby. He added that “In no way is this left guard post solidified by anyone.”
Carman struggled, on the other hand, in this pre-season opener, and has now encountered another hurdle. Babe tweet that the Clemson alum tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The time he misses will give Volson an additional opportunity to receive first-team representatives, as he had briefly before Carman was sidelined.
Cincinnati left the tackle Jonas Williams, as well as free agent signings Ted Karra, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins in place as starters along the line o. The final spot could hang in the air until Week 1 of the regular season.