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Breaking down the Lions' pick: what Laken Tomlinson brings to Detroit's offense

Instead of bolstering the interior of their defensive line, the Lions addressed the inside of their offensive front in the first round on Thursday.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions had a glaring need along the defensive line after Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley, George Johnson, and Andre Fluellen departed in free agency. After trading back with the Denver Broncos to the 28th overall pick in exchange for center Manny Ramirez and a fifth-round pick, the Lions elected to address their needs along the offensive line with Duke guard Laken Tomlinson.

Height: 6'3
Weight: 223 pounds
Arm Length: 33 5/8 inches
Hand Size: 10 1/8 inches

Scouting Report

Tomlinson was a four-year starter at Duke, plays with low pad level and displays excellent lower body strength. His lack of range and athleticism is worrisome to some scouts, but he shows a high football IQ and potential. If he can become more consistent in his footwork and finish blocks at the second level, he could become a key cog in the Lions offensive line for years to come. Tomlinson projects to be a Week 1 starter opposite Larry Warford at left guard.

Personally, I'm surprised the Lions didn't address their biggest need at defensive line, but when your team struggles to run the ball the best remedy is to get a powerful run blocker and Tomlinson fits the bill.

He plays in a phone booth and doesn't have a spectacular amount of athleticism, but he is NFL ready and will instantly improve the Lions running attack. Offensive linemen are never the fan-favorite picks, but the Lions philosophy of building in the trenches is the fastest way to become a contender.