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Cincinnati Bengals will surprisingly start 2022 season with a rookie fourth-rounder starting at guard

Jason Burgos
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Credit: USA Network Today

The Cincinnati Bengals plan to begin their march back to the Super Bowl with a surprising move and will have a rookie fourth-round pick guarding part of franchise quarterback Joe Burrow’s blind side to start the season.

There are a lot of hopes for the Bengals in 2022. The team shocked the NFL when they reached the Super Bowl and gave eventual champions the Los Angeles Rams some solid competition in the biggest game of the year. Star players like Burrow, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and running back Joe Mixon are a year older and primed to be even better with all three in their mid to early 20s. However, those offensive playmakers will need to get some good blocking from the offensive line before they can ever fill the scoreboard with points.

Related: Cincinnati Bengals schedule: Defending AFC champs open against rival Steelers

What made the Bengals run to the Big Game so surprising was that their offensive line was not exceptional, and the team’s playmakers often succeeded in spite of them. In the season and then in the playoffs Burrow was the most sacked QB in the sport. That fact goes against the norms of elite success in the NFL. However, that achievement is unlikely to happen again and the Bengals know they need to have improved play from the line in 2022.

Cincinnati Bengals will have four offensive line starters who were not with the team in 2021

cincinnati bengals
Credit: USA Today Network

That’s why it may not be that surprising that the team is once again defying the norms and have decided to start rookie fourth-round pick Cordell Volson at left guard to start the 2022 season. A move you would expect from a team in rebuild mode, not a serious title contender. But, in a conversation with Bengals.com earlier this week, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan explained why Volson was given the starting gig over a more experienced player like 2021 second-round selection Jackson Carman.

“He ascended the whole training camp period. He played well, practiced well. He continually got better. He showed the things we want to see from a starting guard for us. He’s tough, he’s physical, he’s dependable. . . . He’s earned that job.”

The decision fits for the Bengals in what has been an offseason dedicated to upgrading the offensive line. Volson will now be one of four new starters who weren’t with the team in 2021. After last season, Cincinnati Bengals added center Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappa, and right tackle La’el Collins in free agency. Considering the line play last year, that may be the right move for the Bengals in 2022.