The Jacksonville Jaguars had a busy Tuesday. First, they released kicker Ryan Santoso and later claimed James McCourt off waivers to take his place. They then acquired second-year offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen from the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a late-round pick.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN first reported the trade. The Jags also waived Wes Martin to make room for Van Lanen. A sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft, van Lanen spent most of his rookie campaign in Green Bay’s practice squad and played just one snap in the regular season. However, he has gotten plenty of work in the last two preseason games, playing 71 offensive snaps.
The Packers selected three offensive linemen in this year’s draft, so Van Lanen was probably a victim of the numbers game. Back at Wisconsin, he made 19 starts at left tackle, with all but one coming in his last two seasons but has mainly lined up at left guard in preseason and training camp.
Van Lanen suited up for both Packers’ preseason games and posted Pro Football Focus grades of 68.4 and 65.0 in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively.
Cole Van Lanen’s versatility gives the Jaguars flexibility
Most of the Jaguars’ starting offensive line is already set, with Jawaan Taylor and Walker Little competing for the right tackle job. Having said that, they might have not felt comfortable with their depth, which then led to the Van Lanen trade.
Head coach Doug Pederson said the Jaguars wanted to fly James McCourt to Atlanta to partake in the joint practices with the Falcons, and they could take the same approach with Van Lanen, so he can play in the preseason finale.
Van Lanen can play guard and tackle and might be the primary backup at left guard behind Ben Bartch but could also line up outside if needed. Will Richardson, one of the team’s top offensive line backups is currently nursing an ankle injury he suffered against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the preseason. This could lead to ample reps for Van Lanen if he plays against the Falcons.
It’s uncertain what kind of role Van Lanen will have with the Jaguars but they wouldn’t have traded for him if they didn’t feel strongly.