Cordell Volson, NDSU OT | NFL Draft Scouting Report

As revealed in his 2022 NFL Draft scouting report, NDSU OT Cordell Volson is an experienced and versatile mauler with Day 3 potential.

Of the eight North Dakota State Bison players selected in the NFL Draft since 2010, three have been quarterbacks and three have been offensive tackles. NDSU OT Cordell Volson will look to extend this tradition as he prepares for the 2022 NFL Draft. Volson could have declared alongside teammate Dillon Radunz last year, but he returned to develop and increase his stock. Does Volson’s scouting report reveal a player with pro potential on the rise?

Cordell Volson NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • School: North Dakota State
  • Current Year: Super Senior
  • Height: 6’6″
  • Weight: 319 pounds
  • Wingspan: 81 4/8″
  • Arm: 33 6/8″
  • Hand: 10 2/8″

Cordell Volson Scouting Report

While the University of Northern Iowa has recently become something of an FCS powerhouse for producing offensive linemen, NDSU OTs have fared well, too. Radunz was a second-round pick last season, Joe Haeg was a fifth-round pick for the Bison in 2016, and Billy Turner carved a path from Fargo to the NFL via the third round in 2014.

While Volson might not ascend the heights of Radunz in the 2022 NFL Draft, he has every possibility of hearing his name called in Las Vegas this coming April. The NDSU tackle’s scouting report showcases multiple desirable characteristics that will ensure that he follows his brother to the NFL.

Firstly, Volson looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman. His transformation during his time at NDSU has been impressive. Standing at probably a little under his listed 6’7″ and 313 pounds, he’s a difficult man to navigate in pass protection. Furthermore, he appears to possess impressive relative length. Volson is routinely able to long arm his opponents away from the path of his quarterback in pass protection.

We’ll get to his ability as a pass protector shortly, but I want to begin Volson’s scouting report in the area where I believe he excels. He’s a straight-up mauler in the ground game. After studying him, I came away with the impression that he just hates people. He especially hates those who try to stop him from creating lanes for his running backs.

A powerful and effective run blocker who plays with menace

Volson is an effective run blocker with impressive power. He thrives in driving people to the ground. However, there’s a technical ability to his menace, and he showcases an understanding of utilizing angles to create holes. Additionally, Volson possesses the vertical athleticism to get out to the second and third levels and continue to wreak havoc.

Although he excels in run blocking, Volson has made strides as a pass protector. He packs a powerful initial punch. When he lands with timing and accuracy, Volson can debilitate a pass rusher. When he gets latched on, he also flashes impressive grip strength that can be difficult to disengage from.

Additionally, he has shown footwork development and plays with impressive body control that sees him rarely unbalanced. Volson also displays impressive football intelligence. He’s adept at picking up stunts and routinely keeps his head on a swivel. The NDSU OT constantly hunts out his next victim, like a ruthless offensive lineman machine.

During his time at NDSU, Volson has played OT on both sides of the line. Additionally, he’s switched inside to cover injuries and lined up at both left and right guard. As a result, he possesses valuable versatility. With the combination of his skill set, versatility, and experience, Volson has Day 3 potential in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Areas for improvement

Despite developing significantly in the last two seasons at NDSU, there are still some areas for improvement on Volson’s scouting report. Furthermore, he has limitations that will curb his NFL projection.

While he has played the majority of his career at the tackle position, I believe Volson’s skill set fits best inside at the next level. He does his best work as a run blocker worker in more confined spaces. This is primarily the result of apparently limited lateral athletic ability.

While being a behemoth has its advantages, it can also have its pitfalls as an offensive lineman. Volson’s height compromises his pad level, as he routinely plays with high pad level. That can be catastrophic in the trenches where the low man wins.

Volson needs to work and develop his hand timing and placement as a pass protector. While he demonstrates immense power when he gets it right, he’s extremely inconsistent in this regard.

Cordell Volson Player Profile

For all that North Dakota State has become an FCS powerhouse and developer of NFL talent, the state itself is hardly a thriving hotbed of high school football. Trying to get noticed by college programs — regardless of your success — is a difficult process.

Volson is the case in point. The behemoth offensive tackle was a successful and versatile high school talent at Drake High School. He was an all-district hooper, and still holds the school record for points in a game and blocked shots in a season. On the football field, he was a five-year starter, two-time captain, and first-team all-region and state performer in 2015.

Volson played a multitude of positions and racked up a stat sheet that would rival the best in the nation. During his time at Drake, he played on both sides of the trenches, lined up at tight end and fullback, took snaps at linebacker, and even tried his hand — or foot, rather — at punting and kicking.

During his high school career, he amassed 239 tackles, 28 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 14 blocked punts, and an interception.

Following a familiar path to Fargo

When it came to recruiting, Volson was the second-ranked prospect in North Dakota. However, in a graphic demonstration of the difficulty of gaining attention, he was just the 233rd offensive tackle and 3,109th-ranked player in the nation. He received offers from North Dakota and Wyoming, but a family connection led him to the Bison.

Elder brother Tanner was making his own reputation for NDSU, and having spent time around the program, it was a natural destination for the younger Volson.

“You just felt right at home,” Volson said. “It was the coaches and everybody here, you felt like a part of it when you weren’t a part of it yet. When you go somewhere, it’s going to feel right, and it felt right here.”

Volson’s career at NDSU

Arriving in Fargo in 2016, Volson was a lanky 6’6″ and 267 pounds. It might have felt right during his recruiting visits, but it would be a while before he’d become a part of the furniture as an NDSU offensive tackle. He redshirted in 2016, and despite making nine appearances in 2017, remained a backup through the 2018 season. However, he did get valuable special-teams reps, allowing zero blocked kicks on the PAT and field-goal unit.

Volson rose to prominence as a starter in the 2019 season. While Trey Lance was wowing NFL evaluators with his incredible arm talent, his new starting right tackle was making a name for himself too. Volson was credited with allowing just a half-sack in over 700 snaps. Furthermore, he tallied a team-high 100 knockdown blocks, averaging 8.3 knockdowns per game.

As a result of his impressive redshirt junior performances, Volson was named to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team. He also received second-team FCS All-American accolades from Hero Sports. After a stellar season, Volson earned NFL Draft consideration alongside his teammate Radunz ahead of the 2020 college football season.

As the disruption caused by the global pandemic forced the FCS season into the spring, it muddied Volson’s decision of whether to play or go pro, or even to do both. He began the season without declaring and ultimately opted to remain, play out the spring season, and return to Fargo for the fall.

Returning to Fargo and developing his skill set

“It was kind of a tough decision, but it wasn’t,” Volson told reporters at the time. “I’m going to come back and play because this place has done so much for me, and I want to continue to give back as much as I can. As a kid growing up, your biggest goal is to play in the NFL, and that’s definitely a goal of mine. I figured the best place to develop is right here.”

Volson has developed since his arrival at NDSU. Nearly six years since arriving, he’s put on the best part of 50 pounds and an inch in height. He’s developed into the prototypical NFL offensive lineman build. However, his development has been more than just physical in the year since he made the decision to remain in Fargo to see out the spring and his super senior season.

Through the spring, he developed into a versatile offensive lineman. Volson was tasked with playing two games at left tackle, two games at right guard, and the rest back home on the right-hand side. He allowed zero sacks and committed just one penalty in over 400 snaps.

Volson was named a first-team FCS All-American by multiple outlets, earned first-team All-Missouri Valley honors, and was named the FCS Offensive Lineman of the Year by Phil Steele and FCS ADA.

FCS domination shines a light on the kid from North Dakota

His domination at the FCS level continued into the fall of 2021. Volson earned multiple MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for his play in leading NDSU to the FCS National Championship Game. Furthermore, he was named a first-team All-American and All-Conference honoree for the second time in his career.

The title game will mark the 65th appearance of his college career. Volson will head to the 2022 NFL Draft as one of the most versatile and experienced linemen in the class. His performances have earned him a Shrine Bowl invite, where he’ll display his talents to NFL scouts. Unlike his high school days, the kid from North Dakota won’t struggle to be noticed this time around.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Cordell Volson

Positives: Large, nasty blocker who is best on the strong side. Patient in pass protection, keeps his feet moving, and stays square. Explosive, easily anchors at the point, and seals defenders from plays. Keeps his head on a swivel, displays outstanding blocking vision, and plays through the whistle. Effective with his hands, correctly places them into defenders, and steers opponents from the action.

Negatives: Doesn’t sink his butt at the line of scrimmage or consistently play with proper pad level. Lacks footwork off the edge. Average skill blocking in motion. Did not stand out during Shrine Game practices.

Analysis: Volson possesses the size and mentality to play right tackle in the NFL, though he has limitations. He is a power gap lineman who may eventually move into guard. In the end, Volson could be an inexpensive utility lineman on Sundays.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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