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Round 4 (136): Cordell Volson, OT, ND State


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I'd be interested to see how often NFL teams draft offensive linemen (particularly guards) with a very deliberate consideration for which side they'll play. Obviously teams can have specific holes on their roster at a given side, but do teams needing left guards specifically pursue prospects that played left guard (to a statistically significant degree)? Or do they just bring in guard prospects?

I don't know the answer, I am just wondering aloud. It is true that the Bengals don't seem to make a priority of being that specific in their draft interests, but I don't know if that's unique to Cincinnati or a general trend league-wide. I think that'd be a necessary question to answer before we can truly determine whether TJ's gripe is or is not appropriate.

Either way I can't deny the Bengals' recent track record with drafting offensive linemen is quite poor. Hopefully the Taylor-era draft newcomers (e.g., D. Smith and Volson; fuck Carman) start to turn that around. I am optimistic at least because Frank Pollack, even if he is still a bit unproven himself, is decidedly NOT the same human being as Turner or Alexander.

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51 minutes ago, membengal said:




can a player who has played one OL position learn another?  sure

Is it guaranteed they can?  no

you want to assume he will?  thats fine for you, but not for me

it was a shitty draft in my opinion, outside of 31. 

Just gawdawful in terms of both what they did and what they failed to do

all that said, my disagreement with you doesnt mean I am wrong or stupid or a child, as is implied here

so take your own advice and take your own advice - grow to the point where it is understood that adults (Amphar aside) can and will disagree on things

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Micheal Jordan was athletic as hell.  4 star tackle.  Started a game as a true freshman at OSU first to do that since Orlando Pace.  Absolutely struggled at LG in the NFL. 

Sure, Volson could play LG in the NFL as a rookie.  But he could not play at NDSU for two years.   Isn’t all that athletic. 

So yeah It would be a hell of story if he beats existing Vets out this year.  But he would be surrounded by better vets than MJ was. 

Of course that reality also moves Carman and Adeniji up too. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting read on Volson from Sheeran


the most striking line to me was second to last "Volson appears to be the antithesis of Carman".  This is a good thing.

the article also mentions a Dehner piece in the Athletic which I'd love to read if anyone has paywall access

I'd especially like to read the part about "Tobin accepting his “worst nightmare.”"


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His worst nightmare was deciding to trade two late round draft picks. He hates trading picks. But Basically CTB was the last guy at a particular tier and they didn’t want to miss him and drop down a tier on their board and Tycen Anderson was by far the highest team remaining player left over from another tier when they were picking in the 5th they didn’t want to risk missing out on him.

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By request (from that article):



‘Dirty, nasty, stinky’
When a player holds his draft party inside a massive warehouse that looks like an airplane hangar stuffed with excavation equipment, there’s a certain personality a team knows it is selecting.

The Bengals knew exactly what they were getting with North Dakota State offensive lineman Cordell Volson. They were drafting an attitude, work ethic and dedication that would get the most out of his talent.

Merely turning on the tape or comparing 40 times might have landed Volson as a sixth-round projection as he was for Brugler. Or the same grade as line guru Brandon Thorn, who pointed out “marginal athletic ability and movement skills.”

“You are talking about a kid from a small town in North Dakota of less than 50 people,” Sarkisian said. “His family owns a heavy machinery company that works on railroads and farm equipment. When out there in rural North Dakota when one of those big trains come off the tracks, they call the Volsons. Cordell and his two younger brothers and older brother — who won the FCS Rimington (Trophy) in 2018 — those four get out there and lift up the train, fix the tracks and put the train back on the tracks.”


Despite the imminent construction of the new practice bubble on the other side of the tracks adjacent to the downtown practice fields, Volson’s days of moving trains are over. He’ll be asked to move people.

“That’s what he majors in,” Sarkisian said.

Much of his degree is rooted in finishing and a will to win. He really caught the eye of the rest of the personnel staff during one-on-ones of the East-West Shrine Game.

The Bengals invested a ton of time and research into this side of the offensive line equation this year, specifically coming off a year when the will was lacking in second-round draft pick Jackson Carman.

The NFL conducts what’s called a PAT test at the combine that measures from one to 10 a score about being a good teammate, work ethic, cognition, etc. This isn’t the Wonderlic. It arrived about 10 years ago and is meant to pinpoint those who love the process of football. A track record of offensive linemen who have scored well on this test exists. It shows a significant correlation to success among picks who score high. Notably, that includes former Humboldt State third-round pick Bengals free-agency focus Alex Cappa.

The test is an easy-to-understand number put on a board to quantify what Sarkisian worked on the scouting grind at NDSU.

Volson scored at the top of the class, which wasn’t a surprise, but rather confirmation of the evaluation.

“He’s a multi-time captain,” Sarkisian said. “He got votes from all 116 teammates. His old offensive line coach told me he reminds him of a puppy dog every day he’s out on the practice field. 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. A lot of these draft guys, once they come out, they will leave the college town and go to Dallas or somewhere in Florida and start living it up a little bit. This kid stayed in Fargo and helped coach some spring practices. The only thing the kid loves more than football is the Bison.”

If ever wanting a case study on traits versus attitude in the NFL, the Bengals think the self-dubbed “dirty, nasty, stinky” Volson could be the perfect test case.

“How much smarter, more intelligent, tougher, more competitive, and more intrinsically motived can this guy get, right?” Sarkisian said.



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4/5 spots are settled but it’s 4 new starters no matter who wins LG.   I don’t like opening up against division opponent at all.  I think the NFL needs to shelve division games til week 3. 

Given the Steelers pass rush my guess whoever opens up TC as LG probably has to screw up pretty bad to lose it.   Need to get communication down.  

I guess the good news is that was the weakest Steeler front vs the run I can remember for a long time so hopefully they can win up front in run game. 

With the soft TC and preseason the NFL adopted.   Week 1 and 2 are dicey.  

Steelers upset Bills week 1 on the road and Zac almost upset Seattle with a horrible squad in Seattle.  Probably should have won that game if I remember. 

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This is a really good listen - Hoard with interviews with a number of the draftees - starts with Volson and also can hear Carter and Tycen Anderson. Quick listens - easy recommend:


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Man, I really am rooting for Volson.  Just a good all around dude.
Just a good old farm boy, who is grateful for everything.  Super down to earth and great work ethic.
I love listening to him talk.  That accent always makes me smile...  "You know" ??
Lot of love for Skyline despite Gold Star being the team sponsor.  Hilarious !!

I've listened to a lot of his interviews and conversations.
He just makes you feel like he's not going to let you down.

Fuck you Carman...

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I think fan and media have gotten over their skis with the LG spot.   First they got overly focused on the plan of drafting Linderbaum then moving Karras because of PFF grades, lol.   It never got a chance to be proven out but I feel that had very little chance of happening with obvious defensive needs.   I thought there was very little chance of IOL being used in the top 100 picks.    Using pick 136 does not scream that the team feels the same way about LG as the fans/media. 

MJ was pick 136 just like Volson.   MJ got starts as a rookie by default.  Boling retirement and failure of the replacement plans.  Mainly Jonah Williams getting injured and then Glenn and his concussion-gate.   Struggled badly. 

Now the current LG whoever that is will have a more stable C and LT surrounding them.   So that is plus for whoever it is.

However, MJ was a 4 star recruit and had offers from several power 5 teams.  Showed up on Campus and won the job in spring ball and started as a freshman in the Big Ten.   Needed fluke stuff to happen to get starts his NFL rookie season. 

Volson - appears to be the same class/age as MJ.   His freshman year 2016 he was red shirted.  At the FCS level.   His 2nd and 3rd years he was a reserve at the FCS level.   His remainder years was a starter and nicely decorated.  Had 6 years of College football due to red shirt/then Covid year. 

The majority of his starts came on a different side, different position and at lower level of football than what media/fans are jamming him into his rookie NFL year.

Volson teammate (Radunz) was drafted by the Titans much higher.  Same class as Volson.  Red shirt 2016 but starter the 2nd year (injured). Volson did not start when this happened.  Radunz graduated early, gave up eligibility to go to the NFL.   Struggled with the Titans as a rookie.  

This would be some McNally type scouting and OLine whispering if this guy starts opening day at LG.    Its a huge challenge. 

My personal opinion and hope is the Bengals opening TC starting o-line will  be handled completely different during the preseason.  Last year was clearly an open rotation and try out at several spots.  Some of that was clearly to try to get film for Jordan and Price for prospective trades.    This year I think the approach will be set it and forget it.    Any change or introduction of competition will be from complete failure at one spot or injury. 




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My personal feelings and what I believe is going to happen are two very different things.

Personally, I hate rooting for Carmen and am hoping for a surprise from Volston and he can take the LG spot.
However, I have long said I thought the Bengals should put Carmen at LG, since he played the left side in college and would be more natural for him.  My hope was that the team would have Carmen at LG from jump and leave him there to develop.  That is exactly what I think is going to happen and I don't think Volston is going to beat him out for the starting position.  Despite my personal feelings, I think having Carmen between Williams and Karras will be a better approach.

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Ultimately they need a combination of the mid round lineman they have drafted the past 2 years to develop into quality starting options.    We know the skill guys are getting mega contracts eventually.   Jonah Williams on 5th year already jumps significantly but anything long term is going to be a big deal.    Collins plays like everyone assumes, a hold out would not be unthinkable because he signed a team friendly deal. 

Aside from LG.  The line looks set this year and next so they got some time but its coming were Adeniji, Carman, Hill, Smith, Volson.   It will have to be more than one playing as a quality starter.


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  • 3 weeks later...

While it remains to be seen if Volson is worth the pick invested in him, and I still am not a fan of the pick personally, stuff like this cant help but warm me to him a bit


I simply cant not like high effort and strong work ethic

So I do now definitely like Volson the person. 

Volson the player?  We'll see

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