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- Position: Offensive Guard (OG)
- Class: Senior (redshirt)
- College: Duke
- Ht/Wt: 6'3", 323 pounds
Laken Tomlinson was part of the great crop of guards in attendance at the Senior Bowl, and coming from Duke, he probably was helped considerably with the exposure. Tomlinson is a big guy with a lot of strength and a great blocking attitude on the field. He has good core power and navigates to the second level exceedingly well, meeting blockers in space head on and pushing them down the field or off to the side. He flashes the power to be a difference-maker in the running game, but has difficulty cleanly engaging defensive linemen.
In the passing game, Tomlinson has a strong anchor, but is susceptible to speed and counters. He doesn't have great lateral agility, and doesn't do a good job locking up defensive linemen with his block. When the defender comes free after the initial punch, and if he has enough speed and balance, he can squeeze through an opening for a pressure.
Tomlinson always has his head on a swivel, and moves well around the pocket, finding free defenders and navigating their way. He's not a can't-miss prospect, because he has his weaknesses with speed and trouble actively controlling defenders with his hands, but he has a great physical base to build upon and the tactical understanding to develop into a great guard.
If the Bills are still looking for a way to address their guard concerns through the draft after signing Richie Incognito, I think Tomlinson is a pretty good option. He's physical and coachable, which seems like a winning combination for Greg Roman and Aaron Kromer to work with. He could be in the mix to start right away, even with Incognito on board, and has significant upside. I place him in the second round with my grading system.