49ers must target Trey Lance former teammate on Day 3 of NFL Draft

NDSU offensive tackle Cordell Volson (67) Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images
NDSU offensive tackle Cordell Volson (67) Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images /

North Dakota State isn’t an NFL Draft powerhouse, but the 49ers may be wise to reunite quarterback Trey Lance with one of his former teammates.

For a while, it appeared as if the San Francisco 49ers were enamored with NFL Draft prospects out of Iowa.

After all, that program helped them land quarterback C.J. Beathard and tight end George Kittle in the 2017 draft.

Now, especially in the wake of last year’s blockbuster move to grab quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall, perhaps North Dakota State and its program under head coach Matt Entz might be on the Niners’ radar a bit more.

OK, you might be thinking it a wise move for San Francisco to go after NDSU wide receiver Christian Watson, who put on a show during the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl, and that certainly wouldn’t be a bad move.

But Watson isn’t the player we’re discussing here.

49ers should reunite Trey Lance with NDSU offensive lineman Cordell Volson

Yes, let’s jump into the day-three picks, those hidden gems that occasionally turn into high-quality players.

NDSU offensive tackle Cordell Volson might be nothing close to a household draft name this spring, and it’s likely he winds up being no more than a fifth- or a sixth-round pick, largely depending on how his NFL Combine workouts go.

That said, there’s a lot to like about the 6-foot-6, 319-pounder and why he might be a good fit for the 49ers’ depth needs along their offensive line.

Let’s take a look at some standout reviews from Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson:

"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.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."

We already know NDSU runs a pro-style offense. It’s one of the reasons why the Niners were enamored with Lance. Yet head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense is still a run-first system, and that’s where Volson thrives.

True, Hodgkinson points out Volson’s massive size can work against him, particularly in pass protection, which isn’t a notable strength despite improvement.

Yet there are other areas in which selecting Volson with one of San Francisco’s day-three picks makes sense.

How Cordell Volson can help Trey Lance, 49ers O-line

Right away, the 49ers would be getting a player already familiar with Lance’s own movement skills, both within the pocket and when he scrambles. One of the biggest challenges linemen face with mobile quarterbacks while in pass protection is knowing what their tendencies are, specifically where they are both in and outside the pocket.

That shouldn’t be an issue with Volson.

On top of that, the Niners’ depth for their O-line isn’t particularly great. Last year’s swing tackle, Tom Compton, is a pending free agent, and other depth options like Colton McKivitz and Jaylon Moore didn’t exactly shine as long-term options either.

Read More: 49ers’ 5 biggest needs for 2022 NFL Draft

While Volson might have to be triggered to the inside at the pro level, he at least has the experience to serve as a decent backup tackle and one capable of playing either side of the line.

That’s a bonus, too.

The best part is San Francisco wouldn’t have to give up anything substantial in terms of draft selection, rather it would simply use one of its six projected picks on day three of the draft.

Lance would probably be happy, too.

Next. 49ers' 10 best late-round NFL Draft picks in franchise history. dark