3 Bengals players who will take a big step forward in 2023
1. Cordell Volson
Volson's rookie season wasn't anything spectacular, however, expectations weren't all that high to begin with considering he was a fourth-round pick out of an FCS program in North Dakota State being thrust into a starting role.
While he might not have been incredible in his first year in the NFL, Volson showed slow but steady improvement as the season went on. Sure, he had his bad performances (the O-line did as a whole, especially against Dallas and that first game against Cleveland) but he had games where he held his own as well.
Again, there's not much more you can ask for from a Day 3 pick at the guard position, at least not in his rookie year. The fact Volson managed to hold onto that starting position the whole season-- even if the Bengals' O-line depth wasn't anything to be impressed by in 2022-- is something to keep in mind going forward as we move into 2023 with a slightly tweaked unit.
His best games this past year were the three-game stretch against the Panthers, Steelers, and Titans. In those games, Volson was matched up against Cam Heyward, Jeffery Simmons, and Derrick Brown-- some of the best at their positions-- and allowed just one sack. For a rookie drafted in the fourth round, that's not too bad at all.
Going into 2023 with more experience and more confidence, as well as playing with a (hopefully) improved O-Line, I can see Volson being an anchor alongside fellow guard Cappa this year. At the very least, he'll take a big step forward and flash more potential of what he could be in the near future.