3 college offensive linemen the Bengals should keep an eye on next year
Offensive linemen Bengals should keep an eye on: Cole Van Lanen
Much like Leatherwood, there was a chance that Cole Van Lanen entered the 2020 NFL draft. Instead, he returned to the offensive lineman factory that is Wisconsin.
Van Lanen is perhaps the most intriguing of the three prospects listed. In 2018, he earned the highest positional grade from Pro Football Focus. The following year, however, he had a much more lackluster campaign according to their metrics. So, the upcoming season will do a lot to determine his draft stock.
There’s a lot to like about the 6’5 big man. He’s started games at both tackle spots as well as guard, so the versatility is there.
According to The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs, he should be an excellent run blocker as well,
"“Really enjoyable to watch him in gap/power concepts to continue pushing pace and collapsing defenders off of the football — he’s going to be a natural in the run game at the next level.”"
In addition, he’s been named to the Academic All-Big Ten team on multiple occasions, proving his mental processing is excellent. Not to mention, he’ll have experience as a leader as he’ll be leaned upon to anchor the Wisconsin line as a redshirt senior in the upcoming year.
He’ll have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in matchups against teams like Notre Dame and Michigan, as well as potential contests against Ohio State and another high-caliber team in a bowl game.
The talent and natural attributes are all there, he just has to put it all together to be the next in a long line of successful Wisconsin alum in the league. Who knows, it could even be with the Bengals.