The Cincinnati Bengals went heavy on defense in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they did manage to land one offensive guy. That came with the 136th-overall selection of former North Dakota State lineman and four-time national champion Cordell Volson.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Volson played throughout the offensive line during his college career, mostly at tackle. He started 16 games at right tackle in 2019, then started there in the team’s only fall game in 2020 after the rest of the schedule was delayed to the spring because of COVID-19.
In North Dakota State’s spring 2021 season, Volson switched to left tackle for two games, moved back to right tackle for four games, and played two games at right guard due to injuries.
For his final season in the fall of 2021, Volson started at right tackle in 15 games and earned First-Team AP All-American honors for the national champions. He ended his college career having won four FCS titles, so he comes to Cincinnati with a strong championship pedigree for a franchise coming off its third Super Bowl appearance ever.
Draft value-wise, Volson was viewed as a reach where Cincinnati took him in Round 4. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. did not have Volson ranked among the draft’s top 225 players but did have him ranked 22nd among offensive tackles. Todd McShay had him ranked 227th.
Finally, the consensus big board by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan had Volson ranked 209th.
As for his rookie season, Volson figures to be in the competition for the starting left guard spot, where the early favorite is second-year man Jackson Carman. Even if Volson doesn’t start, he’ll give the Bengals added depth at both guard and tackle, which is a big reason why I wouldn’t worry about his chances of making the 53-man roster.
Volson should actually end up being a third Bengals interior lineman capable of playing tackle, as Hakeem Adeniji and D’Ante Smith can also play both spots.