2015 NFL Draft Profile: Laken Tomlinson, Guard, Detroit Lions


Over the next week, SideLion Report is taking a closer look at what makes the Detroit Lions’ 2015 NFL Draft class unique.

Who? Laken Tomlinson

What? Detroit’s 2015 first-round draft pick.

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Where? Guard

When? Pick 28.

Why? With Rob Sims aging and a youth movement taking place along the offensive line, the Lions felt the time was right to select their bookend guard of the future to pair with Larry Warford. Detroit didn’t waste any time making the move, either. They traded back with the Denver Broncos and acquired guard Manny Ramirez and a fifth-round pick. Many would contend the Lions reached for Tomlinson, a second-round talent, but the team couldn’t risk losing who they wanted to help anchor the middle of their line for what they hope is the next decade.

Best Attiribute: Humility. After being selected, Tomlinson quickly stole the show, speaking at length about his ambitions after football, which include becoming a neurosurgeon in order to help save folks in his native Jamaica. Tomlinson graduates with two degrees from Duke, and shadowed a neurosurgeon all while maintaining good academic and athletic standing. He’s been incredibly giving and humble during his time in college, and shows signs of being a capable, confident leader. It’s the type of person a team has no qualms about drafting early on.

His Ceiling: Pro-Bowl starting guard. As a mauler at the point of attack, it’s been made pretty clear Tomlinson’s game translates well to the next level. He’s said multiple times that he models his game after Warford, and now, he’ll be able to be tutored by the man himself who’s carved out an excellent start to his career in Detroit. Tomlinson is dedicated and hard-working, which are the traits needed to take the next steps in a football career.

Tomlinson is dedicated and hard-working, which are the traits needed to take the next steps in a football career.

Did You Know? Before moving to Chicago, Tomlinson was a native of Jamaica. Football wasn’t his only strong suit in high school, as he also lettered in track & field, making him a very impressive athlete across the board.

What They’re Saying: “I do think he has all the makings of what we expect him to be.” —Jim Caldwell. With rookie camp taking place over the weekend, Tomlinson wasted no time making an impact, and also got a bit of help from his former coach David Cutcliffe, who texted Caldwell late at night to provide a ringing endorsement of Tomlinson the man. While Caldwell couldn’t remember the specific nature of Cutcliffe’s words and wouldn’t laud Tomlinson without first seeing him in extended action, he did say the comment revolved around Tomlinson being a franchise building block. High praise, indeed.