With the 214th pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Packers have drafted offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen. The three year starter out of Wisconsin is staying within the state and moving north to play for Green Bay. The Packers front office have now used three of their last eight picks to reinforce that offensive line. After losing first team all-pro center Corey Linsley, along with Rick Wagner this offseason, Green Bay wasted no time in filling these holes. They’ve selected Josh Myers to replace Linsley at center in the second round, and now possibly Van Lanen to play right tackle. All three offensive linemen they’ve drafted are versatile, much like Elgton Jenkins, and can play each position.
Production at Wisconsin
Van Lanen was a three year starter at UW-Wisconsin, and earned an 81.6 pro football focus rating after playing six games in 2020. He did play 358 offensive snaps at the left tackle position, but has practiced at right tackle. In 2018, Van Lanen was the second highest graded offensive tackle. Through three years, Van Lanen has only allowed eight sacks, five hits, and eleven hurries off of 1,787 career snaps. As a senior at Wisconsin’s Bay Port High School he was a team captain along with a team MVP.
In addition, he was a four star recruit to become a Wisconsin Badger, and started in 18 games for Wisconsin the past two seasons. Along with that, he was voted first-team All-Big Ten first his five starts in the 2020 season. He also was a two time Fox River Classic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year and first time All-FRCC selection.
Green Bay's own‼️
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 1, 2021
What He Brings To Green Bay
UW-Wisconsin is well known for producing successful offensive linemen, and Van Lanen is no exception. He helps generate a push in the run game, and yards after initial block as he brings opposing defensive tackles upfield to produce running lanes. At 6’4″ 305 lbs, he’s a little slim and not an ideal built to play tackle at the NFL level, but that could change. He’s a very nimble all around dynamic athlete, helps at a depth standpoint, and plays comfortably at any position. His explosiveness off the snap is incredible, and when he grabs hold of a defender he latches on.
With the packers implementing a run heavy zone scheme, Van Lanen will help produce running lanes for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. He lacks strong production in pass protection with his lack of length and uses his hands more so for balance than blocking the defender. Overall, he is a very great pick in the 6th round for Green Bay. He provides depth at the very least, and can earn the starting role at right tackle, or possibly right guard.
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