Pre-Order The Pro Football Draft Preview Today!!

Van Lanen just another Chapter in Packers' Quest for some Homegrown Cheese

Green Bay continues its decades-long tradition of whiffs in the Badger State.

If you're a Wisconsinite, there are a few things that are ingrained into you early on in life: cheese, brats, kringle, 7Up, and love for the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers. Wouldn't it just be grand if we could get all those things rolled up together sometime? If you show up to 1265 Lombardi Avenue on a Sunday in Autumn, you can come pretty close. It seems like the Packers' Front Office has been trying to do us all the favor of putting it together every few years, but they just keep coming up short. Unfortunately, they've been coming up short for quite a while.

The trading of 2021 6th-Rounder Cole Van Lanen to the Jaguars was yet another swing-and-a-miss to land a former Badger who might turn into an eventual household name in the Green and Gold. As a 6th-Round Pick, expectations are far from lofty, but you never know what could happen (talking to you Mason Crosby).

Cole was yet another Tackle-to-Guard conversion that the Packers have made their calling card when it comes to finding quality offensive lineman in the Draft. The issue here was that Van Lanen lacked length, athleticism, and if you ask me strength and/or power wasn't necessarily abundant either. In the Outside-Zone concept that Head Coach Matt LeFleur loves to run, you can lack one, but you certainly can't lack the other (and the Packers normally choose to lack length; a la Zach Tom of 2022).

"Hindsight is always 20/20"....of course, but had it been me in the War Room, I'd have been screaming for Trey Smith out of Tennessee, who started all 17 regular season games plus 3 games in the playoffs and was voted to the NFL All-Rookie Team while making the Pro Bowl as an alternate. Unfortunately Trey Smith, who was a lock as a Day 2 Pick or higher in 2019, developed blood clots in his lungs and likely fell off all but a few teams Draft Boards. However he ended up getting his name called 12 selections later for Kansas City, and remade their offensive line overnight.

So, will the Badgers ever supply the Packers with a star? Hard to say. While the Badgers have finished in the Top 25 of the AP Poll every year since 2013, they don't seem to field many "studs" with their blue-collar play style that you just love to root for. While they are typically always contenders for the BigTen Championship, they might see their chances dwindle a bit when they have the likes of USC and UCLA joining the conference in 2024. 

While the Packers have made 40 selections from the Badgers dating back to 1937 (45 if you include the Wisconsin satellite campuses), it's been quite some time since a Badger had been able to make a significant impact for the hometown team. In fact, the last time the Packers got a home run from the hometown was our beloved Right Tackle Mark Tauscher, who went 224th Overall in the 2000 Draft, and started 132 of 134 games during a superb 10-year career. Before Tauscher, you'd have to go all the way back to 1964 when the Packers drafted Center Ken Bowman in the 8th Round(Ken also had the distinction of being drafted in the 10th Round of the AFL Draft by the Jets that same year). Bowman would go on to play for the Packers for a decade which included 3 straight NFL Titles from 1965-1967. I'm not sure if it was Dawson, Tasucher, or maybe both, but perhaps there's hope in one day getting another Badger down in the trenches who can deliver another Lombardi to Titletown.

Is 2023 the year the Packers finally find a Badger who'll stick? Or is the old-fashioned football culture in Madison in need of an upgrade before the Packers can eventually find an athlete who can makes plays at Lambeau just as good as he did at Camp Randall? We can only hope. Stay strong Packers/Badgers faithful.

Joseph has been an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers since 1997, citing an affinity for dairy products during his childhood and his favorite color, green. Born in Jacksonville, FL, Joseph currently is an Active Duty servicemember in the U.S. Armed Forces. Joseph considers himself a lifelong fan of the game of football, competing since his youth well into adulthood. When it comes to the Pack, Joseph is particularly impassioned about the NFL Draft and collegiate scouting process, and will contribute regularly on CHTV.com leading to that year's upcoming Draft.

NFL Categories: 
2 points

Comments (9)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
JosephR's picture

August 24, 2022 at 06:13 am

Cole certainly tested well, and I think that was what made him a 6th Round Pick instead of going undrafted. However when you watch the tape, that athleticism doesn't seem to manifest itself quite as well as it did during the Combine and Wisconsin Pro Day. Most scouts across the League saw Van Lanen as a "Guard only" prospect, because he was known to get into hot water when it came to plus edge rushers.

I believe the Packers were hoping they could bring that athleticism out in the interior of the offensive line where opposing defensive tackles aren't nearly as athletic as defensive ends and outside linebackers.

1 points
1
0
LLCHESTY's picture

August 24, 2022 at 06:30 am

Van Lanen was PFFs highest graded T in 2018. Was a top 50 player by 247 going into 2020. He had a down year in 2020 for sure but was thought to be a 2nd round pick going into the year.

1 points
1
0
JosephR's picture

August 24, 2022 at 10:29 am

While I have and do reference PFF and 247 occasionally in my writings, the evaluations of NFL Coaches and Front Office personnel will forever take preference over them. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league. Cole may have been once viewed as a good prospect, but can you explain why he was unable to rehab his draft stock? He did test well after all, which you mentioned previously.

1 points
1
0
Lphill's picture

August 24, 2022 at 05:11 am

TJ Watt would have made up for all the misses .

2 points
6
4
stockholder's picture

August 24, 2022 at 05:44 am

MISSES - I would have never drafted Cole.

1 points
2
1
T7Steve's picture

August 24, 2022 at 07:51 am

Thanks for your service Joseph. It's good to welcome a new fan.

What turned you into a fan in 97? Or, are you just that young and I'm soooo old?

0 points
0
0
JosephR's picture

August 24, 2022 at 10:30 am

I'm just a young whippersnapper. But in short, I was captivated by The Ol' Gunslinger.

0 points
0
0
Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

August 24, 2022 at 08:31 am

Hold on for a few years. We are an AR retirement and a Love-for-Wilson swap with Denver away from your dream.

1 points
1
0