Laken Tomlinson, the All-American guard for the Duke Blue Devils, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after an astonishing 52 career starts on the collegiate level. Tomlinson was a First Team All-ACC performer in 2014 after receiving the same recognition in 2013 and 2012. Was named captain during his senior season. He was born in Jamaica and has been living in the United States since he was 10 years old. Physically, Tomlinson is put together nicely with a wide trunk and overall sturdy frame. He has good-enough length for the guard position with nearly 34″ arms. Tomlinson displays natural flexibility in his lower half and a good get-off at the snap. He fires off the ball and has enough power behind his pads to jolt/stun the defender. Tomlinson has good body control and can get to the second level in the running game, but he fails to locate his target at times. He packs a strong punch and is a skilled hand fighter; He’s constantly fighting for inside hand position even when he initially loses at the POA. Plays with good pad level and leverage, displaying the ability to get movement in the power running game. Possesses sound, nimble feet that are constantly moving and working hard. A coordinated athlete who can redirect in space, work around his target and get into proper position. Effective when reach blocking and has enough range to get out in front and lead downfield. Needs to improve on sustaining blocks; can be shed too easily. Becomes a bit of a lunger at times, leaving himself vulnerable to counter moves in the passing game. That said, he’s powerful enough to anchor versus the bull rush and can maintain pocket integrity when in proper position.
BOTTOM LINE: Laken Tomlinson is an experienced prospect at the guard position who will be very appealing to teams that value reps and starts along the offensive line. His 52 career starts will naturally elevate him on several teams’ boards, as he has proven to be a dependable and durable player. Tomlinson’s overall game lacks any special element, but he is plenty strong and athletic enough to suggest starting potential in the NFL. He projects as an in-line, power player with some upside in space, but he’ll have to improve his ability to finish on the second level. He presents good value toward the end of Day 2.
GRADE: 6.9 (Late-3rd, Early-4th)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)