The Detroit Lions' first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft raised some eyebrows. With Malcom Brown still on the board, many thought the Lions should have bolstered their weakened defensive line. But others saw Laken Tomlinson as a brilliant under-the-radar pick. I could link to several scouting reports, or show you how Pro Football Focus loves the guy, but what better way to get to know the Lions' newest offensive lineman than with some of his greatest GIFs?
(NOTE: ALL GIFS CREATED WITH THE HELP OF DRAFT BREAKDOWN)
One of Tomlinson's greatest features is his ability to turn defenders. What I mean by this is his ability to gain leverage on the defender and seal the intended hole from the inside. I also love his tenacity on the play above, running the player several feet backward after already successfully blocking him on the play.
Tomlinson also has the ability to get to the second level and drive the defense several yards backward. Though he lacks a little in athleticism, he works well with his hands to make sure quicker defenders don't escape his grasp.
This highlight may seem pedestrian, but I love how Tomlinson waits until the perfect moment to slap the defensive tackle's hands away and get inside leverage on him. Notice how he starts the play at a disadvantage, on the outside shoulder of the defender. He methodically shuffles his way inside and attacks at the perfect moment, getting inside the defender easily and opening the hole for the quarterback draw.
Where Tomlinson really excels, though, is pass protection. On nearly every play I watched, Tomlinson was clear on his assignment, even when the opposing defense threw some tricks his way. On the stunt above, Tomlinson cleanly passes the defensive tackle to his linemate and picks up the looping outside linebacker with ease.
But I know what you all came here to find. You wanted MORE PANCAKE. Well, lucky for you, Laken has no problem serving up a big fat plate of pancakes to any defender who gets in his way.
Welcome, Laken Tomlinson. This is going to be fun.