2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jackson Carman
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Dabo Swinney has turned Clemson into a powerhouse and dynasty program, and in the process, the Tigers have produced many freak athletes for the NFL. The 2021 NFL Draft will see more of that, headlined by the future No. 1-overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but Jackson Carman is another freaky Tiger who could join Lawrence in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Carman broke into the starting lineup in 2019 and turned in two quality seasons for the Tigers, with his 2020 season particularly impressive in terms of protecting Lawrence's blind side.
Carman has unique ability as a pass protector because he is very athleticsmooth mover with a large, round frame that makes him tough to get by. He also has quick feet and glides through the air, showing rare movement skills for an offensive lineman of his size. Thanks to his excellent athleticism and quickness, Carman can mirror speed rushers and lock down the backside of the play. Carman's thick build and strength allow him to anchor and stone wall bull rushes - when his technique is sound. He has the skill set to be a starting left tackle in the NFL.
As a run blocker, Carman is impressive. He has a strong upper body to push back defenders and blocks with some nastiness. Carman fights through the whistle and pushes defenders around, flashing some violence and a feisty attitude. When his technique is right, Carman can knock defenders off the ball and drive block them. He also uses his excellent quickness and athleticism to fire out to the second level, and his easy moving allows him to hit blocks in space. When Carman avoids bending at the waist, he can be a real forceful presence in the ground game.
There are significant technical issues that Carman needs to improve for the NFL. He can have a tendency to lose his balance when backpedaling in pass blocking, and that gets him in trouble. Carman also allows his hands to get too wide in pass blocking, and that can allow defenders knock him back by getting into his chest. Carman having his hands wide also leaves him vulnerable to some pass-rushing moves, like rips and dipping underneath him. There are also plays on which Carman gets sloppy and bends at the waist to lunge at his block. That allows defenders to slap his arms away and break free to the quarterback. Carman's technical issues also lead to a lack of recoverability.
Carman's size and power make him a fit for a power-man-blocking scheme, and his quickness and athleticism makes him a good fit to play in a zone scheme. Some team sources think Carman should move inside to guard in the NFL due to his technique issues. Others think he can be a starting left tackle. With that variation, some view him as a second-rounder while others think he is worthy of going late on the opening night of the 2021 NFL Draft as a surprise first-round pick. It could make sense for Carman to start out his career at guard and eventually move to left tackle.
Player Comparison: Garett Bolles. Carman reminds me of a heavier version of Bolles. Bolles was a great athlete entering the next level, but had technique issues he needed to clean up. That led to some rough moments early in his career, but Bolles straightened out to become a good starter in his fourth season. I could see Carman's career following a similar path on his way to being a good starter.
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