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‘Real Competitor’ Van Lanen Signs with Packers

“He’s a real likable guy, easy to smile. He’s a real competitor. He knows how to turn it off and on,” Wisconsin offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers on Thursday signed sixth-round pick Cole Van Lanen, an offensive lineman from Wisconsin who grew up in nearby Suamico.

According to Aaron Wilson, who was the first to report the signing, the four-year deal is worth $3.841 million and includes a signing bonus of $153,688.

“Just a phenomenal person,” Joe Rudolph, the Badgers’ associate head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, said on Thursday. “Great kid, great family around him, appreciates people. Really hard worker, someone who’s focused and does a great job of putting an action plan together to accomplish what his goals are. He’s a real likable guy, easy to smile. He’s a real competitor. He knows how to turn it off and on.”

Van Lanen started 18 games at left tackle during his final two seasons, including 13 games in 2019, when he was second-team all-Big Ten, and five games in 2020, when he was first-team all-conference despite missing two games due to an undisclosed injury.

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In all, he played in 45 games with 19 starts. While he started only once in 2018, he played 560 snaps and paved the way for Jonathan Taylor’s 2,000-yard rushing season. In 2019, he helped power another 2,000-yard season by Taylor. Along with the on-the-field accolades, he was a four-time all-Big Ten selection in academics.

“Probably the 2018 season, which seems like a long time ago,” Rudolph said of when he believed Van Lanen would reach the NFL. “I had a few guys on that team that were drafted and are playing in the NFL, and he graded out better than all of those guys that year. You could tell he was competitive, he was fired up, wanted to be thought of as part of that group and wanted that group to respect him. You knew, ‘Yeah, if he stays healthy, he’s going to have a great future.’”

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