2021 NFL Draft: Cole Van Lanen Player Profile

Cole Van Lanen

Cole Van Lanen NFL Draft Overview

Position: Offensive Tackle
Height: 6′-5″
Weight: 312lb
School: Wisconsin
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Cole Van Lanen 2021 NFL Draft Profile

One thing the Wisconsin Badgers are known for is their offensive linemen. Cole Van Lanen is one of those linemen entering this year’s NFL Draft. Van Lanen started his football career at Bay Port High School in Suamico, Wisconsin. Besides playing football, Van Lanen also participated in track and field and won state awards as a shot putter.

After his high school career, he committed to the University of Wisconsin. Van Lanen redshirted his 2016 season and did not get much playing time in 2017. He split time with Jon Dietzen at left tackle in 2018. Pro Football Focus graded him as the best tackle in the country at the time, only allowing two sacks and six pressures in his 2018 campaign. After a successful year, Van Lanen took the position as the sole starter in 2019. He took a step back in production, allowing five sacks, 15 pressures, and inciting five penalties. In a shortened 2020, Van Lanen allowed one sack and three total pressures. In the same year, coaches voted him first-team All-Big Ten, while the media voted him onto the second team.

Over the course of his collegiate career at Wisconsin, Van Lanen started 19 of the 45 games he played in.

Strengths

  • Hand placement is above average;
  • His mass and footwork drive his power;
  • A mauler in the running game;
  • Eyes transition quickly when adjusting his blocks;
  • Uses upper body strength to execute kick out blocks.

Weaknesses

  • Short arms; most likely will have to switch to guard;
  • Does not have the athleticism to catch speedy edge rushers;
  • Overextends himself on pass sets; vulnerable to fast edge rushers;
  • Stiff hips.

Player Comparison: Jon Runyan Jr

Projection: 6th-7th round

Team with Need at Position: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers

Bottom Line On Cole Van Lanen

Despite his years of experience at the left tackle spot in college, teams will likely transition Cole Van Lanen to the interior of the front five. Most rookies who move to the next level encounter roadblocks due to the speed of the game. Van Lanen is not athletically fit to block rushers coming off the edge in the NFL. However, coaches can adjust his skillset, so he is fit to block power rushers from the interior.

Although the talk is high for Van Lanen to move to guard, he exhibits good qualities as a tackle too. His hand placement in pass protection is above average, while his power and strength as an offensive lineman help handle defenders in the running game, blowing holes open for the running back too.

Once he is drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent, Van Lanen will likely have to impress his coaches in camp to get a reserve spot on the roster. It is not confirmed that the NFL is bringing back 16-man practice squads, so nobody should bank on it. From there, his floor is a depth piece at offensive guard, whose strong spot is blocking in the running game. Van Lanen’s best fit is with a team that runs a zone-blocking scheme with a run-heavy offense. From there, if Van Lanen fixes his woes in pass protection and shows his potential in limited playing time, there’s a chance he will earn himself a starting job.

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