The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the worst teams when it came to giving up sacks last season, allowing 55, the third-most in the NFL. This called for a revamped offensive line and the Bengals did just that by signing right guard Alex Cappa, center Ted Karras, and right tackle La’el Collins.
Cincinnati put more resources into this unit in the NFL draft by taking left guard, Cordell Volson in the fourth round. The 6-foot-7 behemoth won the starting job and had some struggles against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, but there were some bright spots as well.
ESPN’s Ben Baby wrote the following on Volson’s performance:
“Volson, a fourth-round pick, made the start at left guard and had some shaky moments. But he showed why the Bengals are so optimistic about his potential. The North Dakota State alum finished with a pass block win rate of 93.1% in the second half, which is above average. Cincinnati knows Volson will have some rookie moments as he continues to adjust to the league. But his work ethic and consistency were major reasons he won the starting job and should boost the left side of the offensive line.”
Let’s face it, going against the Steelers pass rush, which has led the NFL in sacks for five consecutive seasons, was going to be a huge test right out of the gate for Volson in his Bengals’ debut. Specifically, going up against All-Pro defensive tackle Cam Heyward, who registered 10 sacks a season ago, wasn’t going to be easy.
Cordell Volson snatch trap on Cam Heyward pic.twitter.com/ZUigiUj1Rl— Mike (@bengals_sans) September 12, 2022
The flip side to that is that Volson got valuable experience against an elite player, which will only help with his rookie struggles because there will be more.
There’s one person who isn’t overreacting to Volson’s mishaps. Bengals’ head coach, Zac Taylor, believes the rookie laid the foundation for a serviceable campaign in his first year as a pro.
“He showed some real potential in that game,” said Taylor. “His last two non-Bengals opponents have been Aaron Donald and Cam Heyward.”
Sheesh, talk about getting thrown into the fire. Well, Volson hasn’t gotten burned too badly so far, and the Bengals hope that the arrow keeps pointing up in his development.
Feature image via Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports