It’s always special for an NFL Draft prospect when they hear their name called and see their dream of playing professional football come true on draft day.
But for former Clemson offensive lineman Jackson Carman, being drafted was even more memorable and unforgettable considering it was the hometown Cincinnati Bengals who selected the Cincinnati native with the No. 46 overall pick in the second round on Friday night.
Carman was overcome with emotion when his phone rang and the Bengals were on the other end of the line to welcome him into their organization.
“Man, my heart just like bursted,” Carman said during an interview with Bengals team reporter Marisa Contipelli. “Every emotion possible just ran through my mind. It was an amazing moment. It was magical.”
Carman, who hails from the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield, couldn’t have asked for a better landing spot than back home with the Bengals.
“My family’s here and my coaches, everyone who’s supported me on my journey is here,” he said.
“I couldn’t have thought of a better scenario for me to be able to end up back in the city that I’m from and the city that I love and where my family’s at.”
Carman says he grew up rooting for certain NFL players as opposed to pulling for a particular team, though his all-time favorite player is former Bengals offensive lineman and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, whom Carman idolizes and has modeled his game after.
“He’s definitely the greatest offensive lineman of all time,” Carman said, “and just being able to watch his story and how he came to be and all the greatness that he was able to achieve … And just taking apart from his game, just the consistency and just the fluidity he played with, it was literally just art. So, it’s amazing to be able to even be associated with a name like that.”
Carman, a second-team All-American in 2020 according to CBS Sports, was a two-year starter at left tackle for Clemson and helped lead the Tigers to ACC titles and College Football Playoff berths in each of his three collegiate campaigns.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said Carman will “come in and play guard right away” and could “absolutely” play tackle for them at some point as well.
“What you get out of me as a player, you’re getting a smart, aggressive, intelligent and just all out going to give you everything he’s got on the field,” Carman said. “I’m going to be nasty, I’m going to finish and I’m going to do my job with a demeanor of aggression and just intensity. I’m someone who is very caring. I’m going to be able to pour back into my hometown, my community, and I’m super excited to be able to meet the fans and be able to be a part of the city I’ve always loved. So, I’m excited, man. I’m ready.”
"I couldn't think of a better scenario than to end up back in the city that I'm from, the city that I love." – Jackson Carman pic.twitter.com/IRxZhQRcSF
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) May 2, 2021
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