Green Bay Packers

Bring Wisconsin Badger Tanor Bortolini Home To Green Bay

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Wisconsin is known for pumping offensive linemen into the NFL. From Pro Football Hall of Famers like Joe Thomas and Mike Webster to NFL stalwarts like Ryan Ramczyk, Tyler Biadasz, and Travis Frederick, there’s a rich history of Badger offensive linemen succeeding in the NFL. This year, Tanor Bortolini, a two-year starter at multiple positions across the offensive line, is the next in line to potentially be drafted.

Bortolini is from Kewaunee, Wis., and may follow Mark Tauscher‘s footsteps, a Wisconsin native and Badger who later joined the Green Bay Packers. Bortolini played in 35 games at UW with 28 starts, primarily at center, but he also has experience at tackle and guard.

Bortolini recently caught people’s attention at the NFL scouting combine by blowing the roof off his athletic testing. Bortolini posted a 9.97 (out of 10) Relative Athletic Score, which ranked sixth out of 1,434 OG from 1987 to 2024. Additionally, Bortolini’s 7.16-second 3-cone drill was the fastest ever for a center, surpassing Jason Kelce‘s record of 7.22 seconds set in 2011.

With Bortolini’s lighter frame and evident athleticism, and current center Josh Myers in the final year of his rookie deal, Bortolini profiles well with what the Packers like in an offensive lineman. Bortolini’s athleticism shows up on tape, but the most impressive thing is that he rarely ends up in an overly awkward body position. He showed off this skillset in Senior Bowl one-on-ones, where there’s no help whatsoever, and players can occasionally overextend and get exposed.

Here’s a good look:

Notice how Bortolini mirrors incredibly well and stays balanced throughout the entire rep. It’s a strength of his game that is hard to teach. However, Bortolini also has some concerns with his hand placement and ability to hold up against higher-end competition in the NFL. Check out the below play against projected first-round pick Jer’Shawn Newton:

While Bortolini gets his body in a generally good position to block, he lacks violence in throwing his hands in the play. He catches Newton allowing him to control the rep and get around him immediately.

Top draft analysts like Daniel Jeremiah and Dane Brugler often say that “there is no such thing as a perfect prospect.” Bortolini has work to do in consistently using his hands, especially if he stays at center. However, I could easily see Bortolini starting as a backup in Year 1 and supplanting either Myers or Rhyan. He moves extremely well, would be a great fit in an outside-zone run scheme, and rated highly in pass blocking with an 80.3 pass-blocking grade, per PFF, the seventh-highest grade in the Big Ten.

Additionally, Bortolini seems like a sponge and just wants to get better. At the combine, he talked about how former teammate Logan Bruss, a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams, helped speed his development. “Whether it’s where to place your hands, where to step, where to load up in your stance,” Bortolini said. “(Bruss) was a great guy to lean on and helped improve to where I wanted to go.” That sounds like the type of guy who would listen and learn from veterans like Elgton Jenkins.

Whether you’re a Badgers fan or a Packers fan, Bortolini is the type of draft prospect that’s easy to root for. Pro Football Focus ranks Bortolini as the 211th-best draft prospect, and many draft experts believe he’s on the rise. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers pull the trigger and draft Bortolini in the fourth or fifth round, and I hope he gets the chance to suit up in the Green and Gold come September.

Green Bay Packers
What Is Dontayvion Wicks’ Ceiling?
By Felipe Reis - Jul 15, 2024
Green Bay Packers
The Packers Still Hold the Ultimate Trump Card In the NFC North
By Evan Pricco - Jul 14, 2024
Green Bay Packers

The Packers Need To Know What They Have In Sean Rhyan

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On locker-room clean-out day in Green Bay, Sean Rhyan reflected on his season following their Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Speaking with the press, […]

Continue Reading