Bengals Roster: Realistic expectations for Cordell Volson in 2023

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
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With their fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals surprised some people with the selection of Cordell Volson out of North Dakota State. The name wasn't a well-known one and fans didn't really think of Volson as becoming anything more than a depth piece in Cincinnati.

A big reason why people didn't give Volson much thought was that it appeared the starting offensive line was mostly set. The Bengals had signed Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La'el Collins in free agency and that took care of center, right guard, and right tackle. Jonah Williams was lining up at left tackle and it felt that left guard was Jackson Carman's job to lose.

Lose the job Carman did, as Volson outplayed him in every aspect during training camp and the preseason. Volson ended up securing the starting left guard job and started every game during the 2022 season.

While PFF wasn't a huge fan of Volson (he graded out at 51.6 with a pass-blocking grade of 52.9 and a run-blocking grade of 51.2), fans saw that he was improving throughout the season. He did allow five sacks and was flagged five times but for a fourth-round rookie, he did okay.

What should Bengals fans expect from Cordell Volson in 2023?

Some fans felt as though the team could seek out a better option at left guard but they opted not to so Volson is expected to win the starting left guard again this offseason. They could still bring in Dalton Risner, who is unsigned as of this writing, but he's probably the only player who could challenge Volson for the starting job.

Volson isn't going to set the world on fire with his play but he's a fine option to have at left guard. He'll probably give up some sacks and see some flags thrown his way but it could be way worse. He's entering his age-25 season so he's an older player despite only being in the second year of his pro career so he probably won't get a ton better but the hope is that playing next to Orlando Brown Jr. will help him improve in year two.

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Either way, the Bengals have already gotten a ton of value out of their fourth-round draft pick. Winning the draft is a major key to remaining competitive once the big players sign long-term deals.