The New York Giants put a lot of resources into their offensive line in 2014. Thanks to some injuries, however, it never became what they envisioned. The retirement of Chris Snee, injuries to Geoff Schwartz and Brandon Mosley left the guard positions unsettled, forcing free agent back up John Jerry and rookie center Weston Richburg to fill in at guard.
A return to health by Schwartz and Weston Richburg taking over the starting center job will go a long way to solidifying the offensive line. However, if the Giants don't view guard/tackle Brandon Mosley as a potential starter, they might turn to the draft to continue to fill out their offensive line.
While the prospects that are projected to go in the first round get the most talk, teams have been doing well, in some cases better, with second- or third-round prospects. One of those guys for the 2015 draft is guard Laken Tomlinson of Duke.
- Squat, powerful frame at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds
- Natural knee bender, and generally plays with good pad level
- Run blocking bully
- Quick to get to the second level
- Solid pass protection
- Solid technique and very active hands
- Easily handles 1-on-1 match-ups, stout against double teams
- Generates movement in the power run game
- Not an elite athlete, even for a guard
- A bit less length than ideal
- Suspect balance, occasionally ends up on the ground
- Played strictly right guard at Duke. Teams will need to project whether he can play left guard as well at the next level.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
That depends on what they are looking for. The Giants' top three guards in 2014 were all about 6-6, 330 or bigger (Geoff Schwartz, Brandon Mosley, and John Jerry), so it seems as though the Giants want big, long, powerful people-movers at guard. With their high-speed, spread passing game, it makes sense to want to attack the middle of a smaller, spread out defense with a power run game (a la the Packers and Eddie Lacy). If that is the case, then Tomlinson certainly fits, although his lack of length could give them pause.
The Giants would need to decide if they think Tomlinson can play left guard, unless they do view Schwartz as their left guard going forward.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 65th overall
Mocking The Draft - 93rd overall
CBS Sports - 93rd overall
Draft Countdown - 65th overall
Draft Tek - 157th overall
Laken Tomlinson isn't going to be in any conversation for the top 32 picks. However, he is the kind of football player that a team can take on the second day of the draft, won't excite fans, then quietly play well for four years and suddenly have fans worrying how much they'll have to pay to keep him. The fact that his ability to play left guard is an unknown will hurt him, but teams should have a pretty good idea about whether or not he can transition if he needs to by the time the draft process is over.