In an effort to fill the last vacancy of their offensive line, the Cincinnati Bengals added North Dakota State lineman Cordell Volson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. They clearly had a type when doing so.
After playing over 60 games for the Bison, Volson carries a strong reputation and background with him into Cincinnati. It was his mental aptitude combined with his physical play-style that really encapsulated the Bengals in the Draft process.
Per Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic, Cincinnati took note of how Volson performed at the East-West Shrine Game and his Player Assessment Test score from the NFL Combine. Volson was the second-highest graded blocker during the Shrine game (per Pro Football Focus) and his PAT score was near the top of his class. Per Dehner Jr., the PAT “measures from one to 10 a score about being a good teammate, work ethic, cognition, etc.”
Awesome look at inside the #Bengals draft by @PaulDehnerJr.— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) May 7, 2022
Especially loved the insight into the Cordell Volson scouting process, including why he caught their eye at the @ShrineBowl. https://t.co/vCCH5XeymV pic.twitter.com/ByYVYyktbJ
Collegiate all-star weeks are very important for small-school prospects like Volson. They get to showcase their skills against players who come from bigger programs. NDSU might be at the top of the FCS level, but the athleticism at the FBS level is usually greater. That Volson showed out for scouts and evaluators to see was great for his journey to be drafted.
The PAT isn’t as well-known, but based on the words of Bengals scout Christian Sarkisian, it seems to back up what he thinks about Volson.
“His old offensive line coach told me he reminds him of a puppy dog every day he’s out on the practice field,” Sarkisian told Dehner Jr. “That’s how much he loves running out to practice. The guy is a tone-setter. He will get in teammates’ faces if they don’t match his effort even in their offseason program. He’s a sponge in the meeting room.”
Head coach Zac Taylor and director of player personnel Duke Tobin have each said numerous times how they look for players who enjoy the process. Players who love to practice and live for the grind. Volson will have to compete for playing time as a rookie, but it’s clear he fits the bill of what they seek in prospects, at least according to what they say.
Self-evaluation is a part of the process for Taylor and Tobin. The reason Volson will have a chance to start this year is because last year’s second-round pick Jackson Carman hasn’t proven himself as a reliable player. On top of his on-field inconsistencies, Carman’s off-field history and issues that plagued his rookie season have made him the team’s biggest unknown. Even if they weren’t aware of the incident involving him and a 15-year old girl in 2018, there was enough to question if Carman was a fit for what Taylor and Tobin were attempting to build.
Volson appears to be the antithesis of Carman. That might just be enough to give him a legitimate shot at starting this year.