2021 NFL draft prospects: Clemson OT-OG Jackson Carman

Eric Edholm
·4-min read
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

Clemson OT-OG Jackson Carman

6-foot-5, 330 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.82 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Big, naturally athletic tackle who could be tried at guard, but he’s not as dominant as his talent suggests

Games watched: LSU (2019), Boston College (2020), Wake Forest (2020), Ohio State (2020)

The skinny: A 5-star Rivals recruit (No. 16 nationally), Carman enrolled early his freshman year. He was the backup left tackle, seeing action in 13 games as a freshman (including both playoff games), for the national champion Tigers in 2018. In 2019, Carman started all 15 games and was named third-team all-ACC. He then started 12 games in 2020 for the playoff-bound Tigers, earning second-team all-ACC honors, before declaring early for the draft. Although he did not participate in Clemson’s pro day, Carman plans to hold an on-campus workout on April 15.

Upside: Good size for tackle or guard. Weighed in at pro day at a svelte 317 pounds, measuring nearly 6-foot-5 with a condor-like wingspan (87 inches) despite shorter arms. Extremely broad chest. Still young with plenty of growth potential — will be a 21-year-old rookie.

Plays with great strength and power. Carries a physical edge on the field. Has the requisite pop to excel in a gap-blocking system. Almost impossible to bull rush him. Sets his anchor and rarely gets uprooted.

Very agile for a man his size. Impressive flexibility for a blocker who played closer to the 330-340 range in college. Pad level is fairly impressive for a big guy. Terrific combination of upper- and lower-body strength, plus natural athletic traits — those are hard to find.

Showed steady improvements as a pass blocker — kept Trevor Lawrence relatively clean for three years. Clemson’s interior line struggled in 2020, requiring Carman to compensate for inside pressure. Good peripheral vision to spot late trouble and adjust. Good punch skills and hand use in pass protection — appears to have taken to coaching on this.

Nasty demeanor. Intimidator who doesn’t back down from a rock fight. Played well against a battery of a schedule for three years. Faced top competition and seldom was exposed or overwhelmed. Had some solid reps vs. Chase Young in 2019 playoff semifinal game.

Downside: Still an unpolished gem — has all the talent but never lived up to expectations. Has first-round traits but some third- and fourth-round tape at times.

Clunky footwork remains a big work in progress. Suffers from some balance issues, lunges too often, has late feet when delivering a blow and can get exposed by quality NFL defensive linemen if not fixed.

Some scouts see him as a better fit inside. Despite the great wingspan, he has short arms (32 1/2 inches) and small hands (9 5/8 inches) — somewhat unusual dimensions. Will give up that broad chest to defenders at times.

Pass-rush effectiveness could be shaky early on in the NFL. Inside rush moves have given him trouble. Also susceptible to strong edge speed and burst. Benefitted from a lot of three-step-drop passes. Will fall off blocks and fail to sustain properly. Not bad on the move in college but might be a tick slow to get to the edge in the pros.

Played too heavy at times in college. Had trouble controlling weight — arrived as a 375-pound freshman. Pro-day weight wasn’t what he played at. Seemed to fade down the stretch the past two seasons (with the exception of the first Ohio State game). Also suffered from accountability concerns early in college and will require some character vetting. Scouts say his focus and attention to detail could use improvement.

Back injury that kept him out of earlier pro day is a chronic issue that could earn some red flags.

Best-suited destination: Carman’s best fit appears to be in a man-blocking system that features the run game and doesn’t leave its tackles isolated in five-man pass protections. The guess is that he’ll be a swing tackle/sixth OL who is cross-trained inside and used on heavy alignments before competing for a starting job in 2022.

Did you know: Carman is a self-proclaimed foodie who loves to cook. And there are few foods he hasn’t tried — or wouldn’t try. He has eaten bull testicles and cow tongue, for instance.

Player comp: His peak might be Taylor Moton.

Expected draft range: Round 3