DRAFT EVAL: Laken Tomlinson

Duke OL looks to be the highest Blue Devil draft pick in decades after strong combine...here's what the Scout.com NFL experts see.

The four-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference right guard has established himself as the best pass protector among league blockers, as Laken Tomlinson was credited with 121 knockdowns and 15 touchdown-resulting blocks in 2013, adding 124 more knockdowns to go with 14 touchdown-resulting blocks as a senior. He boasts a string of 53 consecutive starts that has spanned 3,944 offensive snaps.

Tomlinson plays flat-footed and generates a strong anchor and power base. He uses his hands well to catch the defender and is quick to recover vs. counter moves. He displays good consistency in attempts to seal and wall off while working in unison with his center, showing good ease-of-movement playing in space. When he gets position on a defender, he knows how to use his mass and hand punch to shock and jolt.

Tomlinson shows the loose hips and strong hand strike on contact to dominate the defender. He is a very good screen-&-wall off type who works hard to finish. He can punish his man when hitting and driving off his initial step and is a fine road grader who can drop his weight and drive through his blocks, thanks to above average leg strength. He is very good at using his hands to lock on and has a keen understanding for positioning. He has very good balance on the move, which is evident by his ability to land on second level defenders.

The Duke blocker demonstrates good cover-up ability. He is a strong finisher once he engages a defender and does a good job of playing on his feet. He seems to be more comfortable blocking in tight quarters or on short pulls than when going long distances, as he does not have great sustained speed, though. He does show good balance and body control to take good angles in attempts to neutralize second level defenders.

Tomlinson has outstanding power for a player his size. He excels in the weight room, as he has the top power clean (347 pounds) and back squat (540 pounds) on the offensive line. He shows good athletic agility getting out in front on sweeps and pulls and is very flexible when redirecting.

The Blue Devil is best when used on short pulls, as his timed speed is just adequate when going long distances, though. He demonstrates good balance in his retreat setting up in pass protection. He gets off the ball with good urgency and pad level, and has the quickness to gain position off the snap and is very alert to movement, showing the nimble feet to redirect in the short area.

Tomlinson has a strong anchor and base to maintain position and has shown very good hand placement in his quest to defeat counter moves. He comes off the snap with good explosion and does a nice job of keeping his feet and staying in control when on the move. He has good body control in his attempts to sustain and when he keeps his pads down, he does a great job of getting under defenders to leverage them during the running game.

The senior is equally effective when anchoring and locking out vs. power as he is when sliding and adjusting to quickness. He uses his hands well to set and hold off on contact and has more than enough strength to anchor. He has the loose hips to turn and get back into the action when playing in space. He can do a nice job of adjusting to movement and generally finds his targets, but is best when used on short traps and pulls than long ones. He also has improved his body control on the cutback. When he plays with his knees bent and over his feet, he is very consistent keeping his balance on the move.

The Blue Devil leader displays good consistency in attempts to seal and wall off while working in unison with his center, showing good ease-of-movement playing in space. When he gets position on a defender, he knows how to use his mass and hand punch to shock and jolt. He is also especially effective at gaining movement when he has an angle on people and works hard to maintain position and get movement at the point of attack.

Laken Tomlinson NFL Scouting Combine measurables

6-3/323 (5.33 forty)
33 5/8-inch arm length
10 1/8-inch hands
25 reps
31.5-inch vertical jump
103-inch broad jump
8.17 3 cone drill
4.87 20 yard shuttle



Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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