Laken Tomlinson   OG   Duke

TALENT BOARD ROUND 3

STRENGTHS
Laken is one of the best pulling guards in this draft. He is powerful and when he goes out in space to block for screen plays, he makes secondary players wish that they had listened to their mothers and played another sport. He has very good overall athleticism and if he can just learn better in line blocking techniques he could become an excellent left guard. He works well with the other offensive linemen and does a solid job blocking in the pass game. He is smart and plays with good pride and although he hasnít really shown it in the film, he has the feet to push a player up in the pocket giving his quarterback the ability to slide and extend plays. Laken is a developmental guard for the next level, but his athletic talents to pull and make blocks in the open field is the reason teams might be looking hard at Laken in the early rounds.

CONCERNS
Laken has more problems blocking in line than he does on sweeps and screens. His stance needs to be adjusted because he comes off too high when he is run blocking, loses leverage (even at his size) and is losing his blocks way too early. He also has to get stronger in his upper body and his hands are slow and need to get a lot stronger. When he goes out to the second level, a lot of times he will lunge to make his block and not bring his feet, which creates unbalance for him. I think this might be because he is not sure who he is supposed to block at times.

BOTTOM LINE
Itís very strange to see an offensive lineman who can get out in front of running backs for sweeps/screens and block with the authority that Laken blocks with, and then see him lose his balance going to the second level to block linebackers in between the hash marks. The longer this kid has to run, the better his blocking is. Thatís very strange but thatís what I see on film. The truth is, if Laken wasnít that good blocking for those sweeps and screens I would just say donít bother drafting him; but he is. I mean seriously -- who runs that well with balance and strength for twenty yards but canít fire out on the line of scrimmage and bury his opponent on running plays between the tackles? Who has the athletic skills and talent and does a good job overall blocking for the pass but canít seem to recover when he gets beat to push his man up the field and stay with his blocks longer? Iíll tell you who does: a player who needs more time to develop and when he does develop could be a standout offensive lineman. Laken has the potential to be a standout offensive lineman if he can continue to improve the little things that will make him use all of his athletic talents because right now he is a hide and seek type of player. His talent is hiding and some coach just needs to go and seek it.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2015