Wow. This pick shocks me as much as the next guy. I applaud the Detroit Lions for trading back and basically ripping the Denver Broncos off, adding a couple of extra picks and OG Manny Ramirez. This was truly a great move by general manager Martin Mayhew. Conversely, I don't think Laken Tomlinson is the guy I would have selected with the 28th overall pick. My thought was that the Lions had a bigger need at offensive tackle than they did on the interior (with LaAdrian Waddle's health in question), but adding any talented offensive lineman is a smart idea moving forward.
Tomlinson is a guy who has been compared to current Lions RG Larry Warford almost every time you bring his name up. That in itself should get you excited about what type of player Tomlinson is. As it stands, he'll likely compete with the newly acquired Manny Ramirez for the starting LG spot, and don't be surprised to see him win the job straight out of camp.
The Lions have made it pretty clear that they value players who are either extremely smart and/or very mature. Laken Tomlinson is just another rookie who fits the mold. In a recent USA Today article, Tomlinson spoke about his future after football, and it appears that he's focused on making the game safer for everyone, despite his mauling nature as an offensive lineman.
"That's a pretty unique individual that has neurosurgeon as a fallback plan if the football thing doesn't work out or if he blows out a knee," Carlos Bagley, a former Duke linebacker and
Duke University School of Medicineneurosurgeon, told USA TODAY Sports.
"I love the challenge of going against the best of the best," he said. "I'm going to do whatever's in my power to go to medical school after football and try and make the game better, safer."
First Brandon Hepburn, the cancer researcher, now Laken Tomlinson, the neurosurgeon. Pretty soon the Detroit Lions will turn into a chess club. But in all honesty, this is a huge step forward for the culture of this team, and I couldn't be prouder of how Mayhew has learned from his mistakes since 2011.
Here is Tomlinson's spider graph:
There may be some cause for concern about his alter ego as Wonder Woman.
According to Pro Football Focus, Laken Tomlinson was the most efficient pass blocking guard in college last year, and the eighth-most efficient run blocker. That's some pretty high praise right there.
Tomlinson has powerful hands for a guard and didn't give up a single sack in the past two years. On the flip side, he has slow and inconsistent feet for a LG. Some believe he's better suited as a RG, but that position is currently held by Larry Warford. Regardless, I would have to believe that the Lions are extremely satisfied with their Day 1 haul, picking up a couple of extra picks and two offensive linemen to bolster their O-line. Good on you, Mayhew.