2015 NFL Draft Interview: G Laken Tomlinson

Interviews NFL Draft

Laken Tomlinson – G (Duke) – Interview @ Senior Bowl

Measurables:  Hgt:  6’3”

Wgt:  323lbs.

Hand:  9 1/2”

Arm:  33 5/8”


PROFILE:  After redshirting his first season (2010), he became a four-year starter at Duke. Following his 2014 senior season, was named to the AP, Walter Camp and SI.com first team All-America Team. Was a three-time All-ACC selection and was a four-time Academic All-ACC honoree. Grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to Chicago while in junior high. Did not play football until his freshman year at Lane Technical High School in Chicago where he also excelled on the track & field team in the discus and shot put events. Has hopes of one day becoming a doctor.


On the turnaround of football success at Duke and how much of a change he saw from when he first arrived at Duke till now:

I believe it first started with coach David Cutcliffe. What he has been doing at Duke, and is still doing now, is recruiting great players and great people. So, just having a bunch of players coming together and uniting under one purpose, you can truly have something special under that formula. 

On whether he has talked with any guys who have previously been through the Senior Bowl process and what they told him to expect during the week:

At Duke University we have a lot of guys who come back and work under coach David Cutcliffe. Right now, guys that I’ve been talking to who have kind of been mentoring through the process was Marcus Johnson, who played with coach Cutcliffe at Ole Miss, and Darryl Harris. Those guys have kind of been telling me what to expect from the Senior Bowl. That the scouts are mostly looking at the practices and how you work in practice – the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices. And pay extra attention to what you are doing those days.

On moving into full pads and there being a lot more physicality in today’s practice (Wednesday) and how the guys reacted to the step up in intensity:

Yeah, putting on the full pads and knee braces, you feel like you are actually playing football. The physicality definitely took a step. I thought it was great. Personally, I thought I did really well today. I loved everything about it. 

On whether there was someone in particular he enjoyed going up against in one-on-one drills who has allowed him to showcase his ability:

Yeah, I’ve been going a lot against Shelton (Danny Shelton – Washington). He’s been getting a lot of looks against me. So, having the opportunity to go against such a well-respected player is a true honor.

On what he thinks Shelton brings to the table that makes him such a good player and how going up against a guy like Shelton here at the Senior Bowl can make him (Tomlinson) get better:

Oh yeah, he’s an extremely physical player. Just the way he comes off the ball, he has a really fast twitch and he has a lot of great techniques and great moves. So you have to be an experienced offensive lineman to match those moves. I think that brings a lot to anyone he plays against here at the Senior Bowl. 

On some of the feedback he has gotten from the coaches at the Senior Bowl and what he may need to improve on:

Things I need to improve on is having better hands. My hands are kind of going crazy when I’m out there in pass blocking. So, kind of bring in my hands a little bit, be more powerful. You know, I am a powerful guy but to use my power in my hands to be an effective blocker. 

On the fact that a lot of offensive line work is the communication between linemen and how difficult that becomes when you are playing in a game like the Senior Bowl where there isn’t a familiarity with your fellow linemen:

That’s one of the problems you have to see coming in to the Senior Bowl. A lot of these guys you haven’t played with at all. So we realize that early on and we pay extra attention outside of meetings talking to each other. Like, I’ve been having a lot of reps with Clemmings from Pittsburgh and we talk after meetings going over plays during meetings and just make sure we are on the same page. Because ultimately, the offensive line, we need five players competing together. That’s the only way we can be successful.

On what his impressions have been of Clemmings given that he has been working with him a lot:

They have been great. I thought that we have been doing a really good job out there. He’s been a really good right tackle playing next to. So it’s an honor to be playing next to him too.

On seeing that his Duke teammate Jamison Crowder (WR) is getting a lot of attention from scouts and analysts at the Senior Bowl and if it’s fun to see one of his teammates succeed here:

Yes it is.  He is actually my roommate here at the Senior Bowl. After practices we go over and talk to each other and ask how practice went for the other person. Just to get that good report and be able to say we both had good days is extremely great. Very filling.

On what he wants to do after his football career is over:

After football, whenever that is, I want to go back to school. I want to get as much schooling done as possible. I want to go to med school. One day, hopefully I’ll be a doctor.



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