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Packers Rookie Van Lanen Elevated for NFL Debut

The rookie from nearby Suamico will supplement the Green Bay Packers' injury-plagued offensive line for Sunday's game at the Baltimore Ravens.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – With four-fifths of the starting offensive line out with injuries, the Green Bay Packers are elevating rookie Cole Van Lanen to the roster for Sunday’s game at the Baltimore Ravens.

It will mark the NFL debut for Van Lanen, who grew up in nearby Suamico.

Van Lanen was a high school All-American at Bay Port before a decorated career at Wisconsin. He started at left tackle in 2019 and 2020, earning first-team all-conference honors as a senior. Scouts dinged Van Lanen for a disappointing junior season, which played a role in him tumbling into the sixth round of this year’s draft.

Van Lanen played right tackle in the first preseason game and left guard in the final two games. He was released at the end of training camp.

“Cole, we moved him around a little bit to see where he’d most comfortable, at guard or tackle,” offensive line coach Adam Stenavich said at the time. “I’m not really sure if he got settled in at any spot. That’s going to be a work in progress just to see where he fits in this league and what his best position is.”

Versatility has been the calling card for the Packers’ offensive linemen under Stenavich.


“At this level, especially at O-line, you need to be able to versatile and be able to play all positions or most of them. I’m in that position right now,” Van Lanen said during training camp of playing guard. “I don’t think it’s been too challenging at all. Being at tackle my whole career, I think it’s a lot easier coming inside than out. Someone that’s played guard, it’s not easy to go out to tackle. But going from tackle is a little easier going to guard, so I think the transition going to those guard reps hasn’t been too difficult for me. Just kind of getting all those reps at all those positions and showing that I can play.”

With left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Billy Turner ruled out on Friday and center Josh Myers and left guard on Elgton Jenkins on injured reserve – all four are sidelined by knee injuries – the Packers will line up against the Ravens with Yosh Nijman at left tackle, Jon Runyan at left guard, Lucas Patrick at center, Royce Newman at right guard and Dennis Kelly at right tackle.

Only Newman, a rookie fourth-round pick, is a preferred starter. He has grown through his extensive playing time; his 852 snaps from scrimmage are tops on the team.

“He just played with better fundamentals,” Stenavich said this week. “He has great athleticism. He has all the physical tools that we’re looking for. And it’s just a matter of him understanding his body and putting himself in the best position to be successful. So, I think this last game vs. the Bears was his most complete game from that aspect of playing with a good base, playing with good hands, moving, coming off the ball, just all the things that we’re looking for in a guard. So yeah, he did a nice job there.

Van Lanen will join Ben Braden and Jake Hanson will be the backups. Braden will be the swing tackle.