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After going with some pretty well-known names over the 2022 NFL draft’s first three rounds, the Cincinnati Bengals decided to dip into the relatively unknown column in the fourth round with Cordell Volson, an offensive lineman out of North Dakota State.
Just because he’s not a popular name doesn’t mean Volson is necessarily a bad pick, though.
In fact, it’s not too hard to see why the Bengals like Volson. He’s experienced (24 years old over the summer with 65 appearances), a leader (captain and First team All-MVFC selection), big (6’6″ and 315 pounds) and has played a handful of different spots on the line, which includes filling in at left tackle in place of 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz.
As an aside, most prominent onlookers liked Volson as a late-round pick, so this one will end up looking like a reach. It’s quite the impressive climb for a former 2-star offensive line prospect out of Anamoose high school, to say the least.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote the following while slotting Volson as a Round 6-7 prospect:
“Offensive lineman with excellent size and thickness to transition inside to a full-time guard spot. Volson has good core strength to compete against power players and possesses the athleticism to work up into positioning as a second-level blocker. He needs to cut down on the penalties and make hand placement a greater priority. There are some holes in his pass protection, but he should be average in that regard as a pro. He has Day 3 talent and could become an NFL backup.”
Then again, The Draft Network had Volson as a fourth-round prospect.
Either way, this one checks a lot of typical Bengals boxes in terms of character and experience. He’ll undoubtedly be used inside, perhaps as competition for Jackson Carman at left guard. Maybe he’s fated to be a utility backup across the interior and if so, he’ll be cheap and effective at that while also having experience at both tackle spots in emergency situations.
On one hand, the value looks rough in the fourth round. On the other, Volson hits a direct need and the Bengals continue to pick from a position of luxury after retaining most of their Super Bowl roster already. Even if Volson is only a high-quality backup for his career, they’ve done quite a bit worse in this range in the past.