Is this former first round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft now in danger of losing his job with the Detroit Lions after only two seasons in the league?
Being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft comes with a lot of expectations. And the fact is many of those highly-touted rookies don’t pan out to have the career teams and their fans hope they will when there initially drafted. But most of them do last more than only two seasons.
Laken Tomlinson, an offensive guard out of Duke, was selected by the Detroit Lions back in 2015. The Lions’ used their first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to select Tomlinson in the hopes he could be a critical piece in protecting franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford while also boosting a lackluster running game.
Yet, a mere two seasons after being drafted 28th overall, it now appears that Tomlinson is possibly on the roster bubble in Detroit. That after the 25-year old, who has 25 career starts for the Lions, is coming off a down season where he was benched part of last year.
"“Offensive guard Laken Tomlinson is going to be one to watch throughout camp,” wrote ESPN staff writer Michael Rothstein. “The former first-round pick has $1,212,296 in guaranteed money this season, so the Lions would take a small hit (and a total of $3,451,476 in dead money) if they let him go…Another thing that could factor in is [T.J.] Lang coming off hip surgery. The longer he is not able to practice (he’s expected to be back around the start of training camp), the better Tomlinson’s chances are to be on the roster.”"
One of the issues Rothstein points as to why Tomlinson is on the roster bubble in Detroit is the fact the Lions are flush with better talent along their offensive line right now. Former Green Bay Packers’ guard T.J. Lang just signed a three-year, $28.5 million contract in March. Lang should be a Week One starter at right guard for Detroit.
Along with Tomlinson, the Lions have Graham Glasgow, Joe Dahl and Brandon Thomas who should all compete for the starting role at left guard with Glasgow as the early favorite. It’s certainly one of the key competitions to watch when training camp kicks off at the end of this month.
If Laken Tomlinson is indeed waived at the end of the preseason, he’ll join a long line of former first round busts for the Detroit Lions. But there is always the hope the young player will turn things around and suddenly live up to the potential he showed only a couple years ago. And if he does not do so in Detroit, it’s very likely another NFL team will be willing to bet on Tomlinson’s potential.