With the 214th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers once again address the offensive line, selecting the versatile Cole Van Lanen from Wisconsin. Here are some initial thoughts on the selection.
– For the second draft in a row, the Green Bay Packers select three offensive linemen with the selection of Van Lanen.
– Like many other offensive linemen on this Packers roster, Van Lanen brings versatility. He was the Badgers starting left tackle but has been working out at both guard and center this offseason.
– In 786 career pass-blocking snaps at left tackle, Van Lanen allowed eight sacks and 24 total pressures.
– As a run-blocker, the Badgers ran a good mix of power/gap and zone blocking schemes.
– In his first season in 2018, Van Lanen was PFF’s second highest-graded offensive tackle in the country.
– If you haven’t noticed, the Green Bay Packers are prioritizing their offensive line–and understandably so. As we saw in the NFC Title Game, games are still won and lost in the trenches. Looking ahead to 2022, Lucas Patrick will be a free agent, and the team could choose to move on from Billy Turner.
– At 6’4″ – 305, Van Lanen posted a Relative Athletic Score at Wisconsin’s Pro Day of 8.49 out of 10. This aligns with the type of athletes that Brian Gutekunst has typically coveted.
– Some believe that Van Lanen is an interior player in the NFL. It will be interesting to see where the Packers utilize him. My guess is that they allow him to play both and plug him in wherever is needed.
– What a cool story for Van Lanen. He went to high school in Green Bay, played for the University of Wisconsin, and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
– For a closer look at Van Lanen’s game, here is what Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network has to say:
"“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 efforts 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. I like his general mobility, he’s not the most graceful but generally speaking he’s effective in space to get the job done.”"