Bay Port’s Cole Van Lanen amped up to find NFL home
The former Pirate and Badger OL is projected as a late-round draft pick
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Question: What has this pre-draft process been like?
Van Lanen: After the season trained down in Dallas, Texas. I had my Pro Day and then had a lot of interviews leading up to the draft. I am just excited to see where it goes.
Question: At what point in your career did you realize you had the talent to make the NFL dream a reality?
Van Lanen: It was definitely in high school. I was always a tall kid, but I was never really a big kid. But then my sophomore year I blew up to 270 lbs.
Question: You won all those state titles in track with the shot put and discus. How much of an advantage was it for you to be a 2-sport star?
Van Lanen: I think about track a lot. I miss it. I think a lot of things cross-train each other. I don’t think you should ever just focus on one sport. Taking away from track, I was a spinner in shot and disc. And being a lineman footwork is super important. Being a spinner, foot work is a big deal, and then obviously the power that comes with being a thrower. You need to have a lot of power and good feet. That translates well to being a lineman. In recruiting, they came and watched me throw. And seeing my feet, and seeing my power with the shot and disc, I think that helps guys scout you. They can see your feet and power and think, hey we can mold this guy into being a great offensive lineman.
Question: Can you trace back your first inkling that you wanted to be an NFL player?
Van Lanen: Growing up in Green Bay, seeing the Packers it was like ‘I would love to do that.’ I am just really excited now to take the next step with my opportunity. I can’t believe the time is here. You dream as a kid and now it’s becoming a reality.
Question: You are projected as a Day 3 pick. The Packers have made Day 3 picks work out on the offensive line. You played tackle in college, but have said you’re not afraid to kick inside to guard or center. The Packers need a center. How surreal would it be if you ended up in Green Bay?
Van Lanen: Obviously it would be awesome, but I am just excited for wherever this journey takes me.
Question: We heard similar answers from Alex Ingold a few years ago. What has it meant to have a high school teammate, and college teammate, who is now in the NFL showing you the path and showing you that you can do it?
Van Lanen: Alec is a great role model. You see the things he is doing now in the NFL, and the community, and everything else. It has been awesome taking the journey with him in high school, and then in college, and he has helped me with this process as well.
Question: Mentally how have you navigated this pandemic? You didn’t know if you would have a season last fall and didn’t get the Scouting Combine this spring. What has it been like to be a college player with an eye on an NFL future through the pandemic?
Van Lanen: I think everyone going through the pandemic in a sport, doesn’t matter if you are in high school or college you just have to work on getting better every day. Good things will happen. That’s what we did last year. For 2.5 months I didn’t even get to see the team.
Question: When I moved here 9 years ago, the FRCC isn’t the conference that it is today. But in recent the FRCC has put a lot of players in the pros, Alec Ingolg with the Raiders, James Morgan with the Jets, and Max Scharping with the Texans. What has it been like to be part of the group that changes how people perceive Green Bay area football?
Van Lanen: It’s awesome. I think the FRCC is a great conference. It is becoming one of the big dogs in the state, fur sure. There is excellent coaching across the conference.
Question: Do you care where you get drafted?
Van Lanen: No. Right now everything I know is maybe a Day 3 guy, mid-round guy or all the way to an un-drafted guy. I have the mentality going into it that it doesn’t really matter where I get drafted or if I get drafted. Whatever happens, I will have an opportunity and I just have to make the most of it.
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