2021 NFL Draft Profile: Air Force OL Nolan Laufenberg

2021 NFL Draft Profile: Air Force OL Nolan Laufenberg

Air Force

2021 NFL Draft Profile: Air Force OL Nolan Laufenberg

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2021 NFL Draft Profile: Air Force OL Nolan Laufenberg


“Overall, he will be a very safe pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.” – Damond Talbot, NFL Draft Diamonds, Owner


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How draftable is Nolan Laufenberg?

Nolan Laufenberg signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent

Measurables

A few weeks ago we did a NFL Draft preview of Parker Ferguson, who was part of the dual anchor to one of the most dominant offensive lines, in particular the left side, in all of college football. Here today, it’s time to prime the other stalwart to this tandem and that is Nolan Laufenberg.

There are so many similarities between Laufenberg and Ferguson, not the least of which is that they were both three-year starters at the Air Force Academy, pro day participants, multiple time All-Mountain West selections and names on multiple prestigious NCAA award watch lists. Laufenberg, in particular, found himself recognized as an All-American in 2019 as well as an Outland Trophy candidate.

If you’re not aware, this type of recognition commonly precedes an occupation in the National Football League. By no means are these achievements a right to passage into the league, but the types of talent recognized this way commonly find themselves on NFL rosters.

Laufenberg was part of a road-grading offensive line that ranked in the top five annually in rushing yards and, by the way, rarely ever let a team sniff the quarterback during pass protection (Ed. note: Air Force ranked 10th by sack rate in 2020 and 5th in 2019). Air Force has enjoyed one of the most impressive multi-year runs (pun intended) by an offensive line anywhere in the country through recent years, and Nolan Laufenberg is a major reason why.

Athletes at military academies face different rigors than the conventional student-athlete and that is well documented. But for offensive linemen, this is particularly pronounced, and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun was very quick to note that despite how prolific Laufenberg’s tenure in Colorado Springs has been, his best years are in front of him. If you’re not aware, praise of any kind from Calhoun is hard to come by, much less so for specific players. And mind you, this is a coach who has spent a lot of time in the NFL, so his words are well-placed.

DRAFT DAY

Depending on the NFL Draft analysis to which you subscribe, Nolan Laufenberg has been appraised most commonly as a mid- to late-round draft pick or a high-priority free agent.

Regardless of where he lands, it’s going to be exciting to see what his ceiling is as NFL coaches get to refine him. The bigger part of his development shouldn’t be in his ability to pick up the mental part of the game, as he’s already shown himself to be a very high IQ athlete; but just how much better he can get being able to solely focus on his development as a football player.

Let’s not forget, too, that we’re talking about a young man that has invested significant time in his preparation to be a future leader of this country with his commitment to serve. Even with that, he was still one of the best offensive linemen in the country over the past two seasons. One can only imagine just how good he will be once able to be fully invested in his trade as an NFL professional, should he choose to do so.

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