Finding Broncos: Laken Tomlinson, OG

In this edition of Finding Broncos, MHH Analyst Erick Trickel takes a look at Duke offensive linemen Laken Tomlinson. Tomlinson played under Coach David Cutcliffe at Duke, who is one of the best at coaching players, not scheme. How would Tomlinson fit with the Broncos?

Laken Tomlinson, Offensive Linemen, Duke


Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 323 pounds

Arm length: 33-5/8 inches

Hand size: 10-1/8 inches

NFL Combine Results:

40-yard dash: 5.33

10-yard split: 1.89

Bench press (225 pounds): 25

Vertical jump: 31-½ inches

Broad jump: 103 inches

3-cone drill: 8.17

20-yard shuttle: 4.87

Pro Day Results:

40-yard dash: 5.23 and 5.2 seconds

Short shuttle: 4.73 seconds

3-cone: 7.87 seconds

Vertical jump: 29 inches

Broad jump: 9 feet

College Stats:N/A


Laken Tomlinson has an incredibly high football IQ, which will help him mightily as he transitions to the NFL. He has such a deep understanding on what his role is and how to execute it. He possesses a big NFL offensive lineman's body.

He knows how to generate pop on first contact and has solid movement skills and footwork. Tomlinson is very aware of his surroundings and what is going on, which helped him pick up a lot of delayed and stunt blitzers.

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He was a four-year starter at Duke as their right guard, so he has plenty of experience. He can set his base and anchor against stronger rushers. At the Senior Bowl, Tomlinson dominated top pure interior defensive linemen Danny Shelton multiple times.

Tomlinson is a great pass protector, but excellent mauler in the run game. He allowed zero sacks the last two years. He is the perfect player to put in a phone booth and let him to his job. And it certainly helps that he's a high character player, with an outstanding work ethic.


Tomlinson is limited to a power scheme because he lacks the athleticism to really excel in a zone blocking scheme. While his footwork is solid, he needs a lot of improvement and work in that area.

He tends to get off-balance, especially when engaging faster rushers and linebackers. When moving to the second level, he tends to lean to get contact with the quicker linebackers and won’t pop defenders when asked to move and engage, limiting him as a pulling guard.

He doesn’t have the versatility other offensive linemen do but has plenty of experience, although it all came at right guard, so concerns are there whether he could play any of the other four positions on an offensive line. He is limited in scheme and role in an offense.

How he fits with the Denver Broncos

Laken Tomlinson has all the tools to be a great NFL power guard. However, the Broncos run a zone scheme, which Tomlinson does not have the movement to be very successful in. I would characterize him like I did Ereck Flowers--an average zone blocking offensive guard, much better suited to a power scheme.

As mentioned above, Tomlinson does have a high football IQ, which would help him tremendously, but movement in a ZBS is crucial and he just doesn’t have it.

Tomlinson sits there right at the boarder of a first round offensive linemen, which could make him worth the pick at No. 28. I just have a hard time seeing the Broncos make the selection when he isn’t a great fit for their scheme. Now, in rounds four and beyond, you can see teams select not-so-great scheme fits, but in round one, you want to see your team avoid them.

I like Tomlinson. I like his game and style a lot. When I first studied him back in December, he instantly became my top offensive guard, where he has stayed ever since. However, I am not a supporter of drafting bad scheme fit players and forcing them to try and play in a bad scheme.

That is not putting the players in the best position to succeed. With NFL teams, the majority of them want to put the players they draft into a position to succeed. The Broncos, under John Elway, are one of them, though they have not always been successful.

That being their philosophy, I can’t see the Broncos making this pick at No. 28, which would be their only shot at him. That said, I hope Tomlinson lands in a power scheme and has a long and successful career.

Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Alaskan_Bronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook.

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Next Story:

Tomlinson Impressive Against Best of the Best

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