‘Thank You, Kris Jenkins’ – Bengals Center Ted Karras Details Uneasy Draft Viewing

Cincinnati Bengals C Ted Karras admitted being obsessed with the draft, as every year he watches to see how early the team will pick a center.

CINCINNATICincinnati Bengals center Ted Karras was part of the group that took rookie first-round pick Amarius Mims to dinner Friday night at Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny.

But Karras admitted Mims — and the rest of the group, which included tackle Orlando Brown Jr. — didn’t have his undivided attention.

Round 2 of the NFL Draft was on the TV near their table, and Karras was paying close attention to Cincinnati’s picks.

Bengals Center Ted Karras ‘Validated’ By Team’s Draft Picks

“I’m obsessed with the draft,” Karras said. “There’s always a level of anxiety in any NFL player in any year when you watch the draft. Once you get through the third round, your anxiety can subside.

“Defensive tackle,” he said with a fist pump. “Thank you, Kris Jenkins.”

The Bengals selected Jenkins in the second round before drafting wide receiver Jermaine Burton and defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson with their two fourth-round picks, making Karras’ dinner taste even better.

The fact that Cincinnati did not take an interior offensive lineman with any of their first nine picks was the biggest surprise of the draft. Not only is the team thin on depth at the position, Karras is entering the final year of his contract, while guards Alex Cappa and Cordell Volson will be free agents after 2025.

“Obviously, not taking interior in the early part of the draft is a slight validation toward our performance,” Karras said. “But it’s a ‘what have you done for me lately’ business.”

The New England Patriots drafted Karras in the sixth round in 2016, and he wasn’t a full-time starter until 2019.

“I’ve been on the other end of it many times, especially my early career in New England,” Karras said. “I was probably drafted over every single year for four years straight. It didn’t work out for any of them.

“I’m sure a lot of guys on this team are feeling that pressure,” Karras said. “That’s what builds a good championship team, is competition and guys coming in ready to work.”

Karras said he has yet to reach out to Matt Lee, the Miami (Fla.) center the Bengals drafted in the seventh round. But he looks forward to meeting and mentoring him.

“I’ve had so many amazing older guys, and now I’m kind of in that role, and have been for a few years now,” Karras said. “I’m very much looking forward to welcoming these guys in and helping them out any way I can.”

KEEP READING: How Big of a Reach Was the Cincinnati Bengals’ Pick of McKinnley Jackson?

Karras is also looking forward to fending off every one of them and making the Bengals think about stepping outside their comfort zone and extending the 31-year-old beyond this year.

“It’s a performance business where every single year people are coming in trying to replace you,” Karras said. “That’s the reality of it. It’s not malicious or anything like that. That’s just the nature of playing professional sports.

“This is a man’s league, and you have to go and take a job.”

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