Blue Devil Draft Tracker: Feb 20th

Scout.com has our team on the ground at the annual NFL combine in an effort to track all the latest news, notes, and more. And, for the first time in many years, the Blue Devils have sent a couple of players who are drawing a lot of early round attention.

Duke Football has arrived in the last two seasons. After decades of futility the Blue Devils have won 19 games over the past two seasons and played in two high level bowl games - producing exciting results in each. Now the program is taking the next step by sending a pair of players into the NFL Draft in the high pick zone. Here’s the latest on Jamison Crowder, Laken Tomlinson, and Takoby Cofield

OG LAKEN TOMLINSON
- The big Duke offensive lineman measured out at 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds with an arm length of 33 5/8” and a hand size of 10 1/8”.

Notes: Tomlinson was first-team all-ACC on the field and academically. He started all 52 games in his career and might be the best guard in this year’s class. Tomlinson was a four-year starter as well as at Lane Tech high school in Chicago. It was there where he picked up the nickname “Fluffy.” It lit a fire that never went out. “I got angry and took it out on the next guy. I did put a guy on his butt after that …” Tomlinson was born in Jamaica and spent his first nine years there before moving to Chicago. It was culture shock for a boy who ran around barefoot playing soccer on the streets. He chose Duke because of its medical program, and medicine (and football) became his dream after the death of a grandfather.

SCOUT MOCK MUNCHER: In the various mock drafts Tomlinson is picked, on average, as the 64.78th pick in the draft. He was picked as high as 29th and as low as 96th in the various drafts we surveyed. (Complete Draft List Here)




WR JAMISON CROWDER
- Crowder measured out at 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds with 30 3/8” arms and 8 3/4” hands.

Notes: Crowder capped a dominant career by catching 85 passes for 1,044 yards (12.3 average) and six touchdowns. During his final three seasons, he caught 269 passes for 3,478 yards and 22 touchdowns. He added another score on a punt return, giving him three for his career. The lightly recruited Crowder’s career total of 283 receptions tied the ACC all-time record. Crowder was involved in a jet ski accident that changed several lives and, perhaps, the Duke program.

Scout.com Analysis: Crowder is the classic case that big things come in small packages. The speedy receiver tied the school and Atlantic Coast Conference career-record with 283 receptions and ranks third in league annals with 3,641 aerial yards, the second-highest total by a Blue Devil. He turned 23 of those grabs into touchdowns and ranks second among active FBS players with four touchdowns via 65 punt returns for 869 yards (most by an active player). He’s gained 930 yards on 44 kickoff returns, as his 5,575 all-purpose yards rank third among players that competed in college in 2014, as that total is also third-best in ACC annals.

With Anthony Boone handling QB duties, Crowder soon became the passer’s favorite target, especially after the slot receiver returned as the only player among the BCS conference schools to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1,074 yards on 76 catches in 2012/1,360 on 108 grabs in 2013). He led the team with 85 more receptions, good for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in 2014, scoring twice on 22 punt returns for 260 yards.

Crowder compensates for a lack of size and bulk with quick feet, excellent in-stride balance, loose hips to generate stop-&-go action that makes the initial tackler miss and the body control to make adjustments to haul in the off-target throws. He shows good flexibility on the move and has the timed speed and movement ability to take the ball long distances. He is a big-play artist with above average timed speed and playing quickness. He plays with awareness and shows the ability to make adjustments while trying to avoid the jam. He might lack ideal size, but has a nice hesitation move to fool the defender and that extra gear, to go along with good hand placement to defeat the press. He is not the type that can suddenly explode off the line, needing room to get to top speed (does it quickly though).

Crowder has the burst and change of direction skills to be effective as a short area receiver, but in order to do it consistently, he needs to do a better job of setting up his breaks. With minimal moves, fakes and inconsistent wiggle, he is the type that will need space to have success in this area. When he plays with the proper center of gravity and drops his weight well, he has the ability to snap in and out of his cuts. He has made marked improvement when trying to generate the good body control needed when working underneath and has the ability to settle into the area’s soft spots.

Crowder does a nice job of looking the ball in flight over either shoulder. He is a natural hands catcher with a long reach for a smaller receiver. He prefers to have the ball inside his window to make the short area catch, but will extend to pluck outside his frame on long patterns. He also shows good urgency and body control digging out the low throws.

MOCK MUNCHER: Crowder is averaging selection at the 91.33 mark of the 2015 NFL Draft - right at the end of the third round. Only three drafts go past the second round and the former Duke standout was picked as high as 84th in one mock and as low as 95th.




OT TAKOBY COFIELD
- Former Duke offensive tackle measured out at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds with 34” arm length and 10” hands.

Notes: Cofield was third-team all-ACC as a senior. A “lively, goofy guy,” Cofield blocked for Todd Gurley in high school and blossomed into a three-year starting left tackle at Duke. He played a key role in the program’s renaissance.

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