With the 214th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the Green Bay Packers select . . .
Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin, Offensive Tackle
Wisconsin usually loads its offensive line with homegrown talent like Van Lanen, who was a two-time first-team all-state pick at Bay Port High School. He also won state titles in the shot put and discus as a junior, something his father accomplished 20 years earlier. It took the Green Bay product three years to find a starting role in the Badgers’ deep line, redshirting in 2016, playing as a reserve in 14 games the following fall and then getting one start at left tackle during his 13 appearances in 2018. Big Ten coaches named him honorable mention all-conference during his redshirt junior year, as he started 13 games on the blind side. Although Van Lanen missed the final two games of the 2020 season due to injury, he was voted first-team All-Big Ten for his efforts in five starts at left tackle. — by Chad Reuter
“College tackle with debilitating length and a lack of athleticism in pass protection that will force a move to guard. Van Lanen is more angular and upright than wide and balanced in his play. When he’s allowed to come off the ball as a drive blocker, he shows some potential to generate push. And he already has the hand placement to help make a transition to guard a little easier. He’s made for power schemes where he can pull, locate and land to help spring the running game. The short arms and narrow power zone will make both block sustains in the run game and mirroring in pass protection a difficult task in the pros, but he has enough working for him to compete for a backup guard spot.” – NFL.com
“Van Lanen is an absolute load coming off the snap. He’s got natural power for days thanks to his foot drive and mass. Once he’s able to create any level of forward push, he’s consistent in his efforst to continue to balloon the point of attack. Really enjoyable to watch him in gap/power concepts to continue pushing pace and collapsing defenders off of the football — he’s going to be a natural in the run game at the next level. His frame has enveloped defenders completely and he pairs that push and power with good tenacity as a blocker to stay sticky . . . Reach and wingspan aren’t something that flashes as a great asset of his — but it’s compounded by his foot speed in his pass sets. He’s much more nimble when he’s working forward versus when he’s tasked with taking vertical sets.” – Kyle Crabbs from The Draft Network
“College left tackle who is best in a small area. Stays square, keeps his feet moving, and shows strength at the point. Correctly places his hands into opponents and steers them from the action. Stays square and out-positions defenders. Strong run blocker with the ability to turn defenders off the line . . . Doesn’t sink his butt at the line of scrimmage. Heavy-footed and minimally effective blocking in motion. Lacks footwork, agility, and lateral blocking range . . . Van Lanen is a strong, wide-bodied blocker with possibilities at right tackle or guard. He lacks starting potential at the next level but could be an inexpensive utility blocker.” – Tony Pauline from the Pro Football Network
FIT WITH THE PACKERS:
Van Lanen performed well in agility drills, demonstrating good athleticism and quick footwork. However, in college he did struggle at times in pass protection against speed rushers. While he’s a strong and stout lineman with good lateral movement, he can be a step slow coming into his pass set, which may hurt him a bit at the next level. He also has shorter arms than most teams prefer (33″), which may be a big reason he dropped to the sixth round in the draft.
The Wisconsin product might be better suited at guard in the NFL, who can play tackle in a pinch. He’s physical and drives off the ball well, and he isn’t afraid to finish. On paper, he looks like a Packers guy. He could develop behind Patrick and Turner and eventually compete with Jon Runyan for playing time.