NFL Hot Press: Laken Tomlinson Grades All Over the Place

Laken Tomlinson Grades All Over the Place

Updated May 11, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

One of the surprise picks of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft was the Detroit Lions’ selection of guard Laken Tomlinson. The Lions traded back with the Denver Broncos and acquired another interior lineman in Manny Ramirez to pair with Tomlinson for a revamped interior offensive line. Most projections had Tomlinson going on the second day of the draft, so hearing his name called on Thursday night surprised some organizations. After speaking to sources from teams across the league, we learned that there was some variety in grades for Tomlinson. Some teams saw the Tomlinson pick as a major reach, while others felt that draft slot was appropriate.

One team that was considering interior offensive line help early in the draft they had a third-round grade on Tomlinson. They viewed him as a power right guard. Sources from one of the Lions’ divisional rivals said they had a second-round grade on Tomlinson. So to those teams, Tomlinson was a reach in the first round.

Another team that addressed the offensive line in the first round said they had Tomlinson in the 25-35 range on their draft board, and that is in line with where the Lions took him at No. 28. Another franchise that hit the offensive line hard after the first day said they had a second-round grade on Tomlinson and projected him to go in the 25-45 range. So for these two teams, Tomlinson wasn’t a real reach and was in line with where they projected him.

The 6-foot-3, 323-pounder could form one of the best young guard tandems in the NFL with Larry Warford. Tomlinson, Ramirez and Warford could make a big difference for the Lions’ ground game that struggled in 2014. With second-round pick Ameer Abdullah taking over at running back for Reggie Bush, Detroit looks poised to improve on its rushing attack that was ranked 28th last season.

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