Duke Now

Duke’s Laken Tomlinson taken in first round of NFL Draft

Laken Tomlinson came to Chicago from Jamaica when he was 10 years old.

Thursday night, he returned to the Windy City and became a first-round NFL Draft pick.

The Detroit Lions took Tomlinson, a senior offensive guard from Duke, with the 28th overall pick. He is the first Blue Devil to go in the first round since 1987 (linebacker Mike Junkin went No. 5 to the Browns).

"This journey has been unbelievable, making it all the way for Jamaica to this very moment, I couldn’t imagine it," an emotional Tomlinson told Suzy Kolber on ESPN.

Tomlinson, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 330 pounds, started 52 games at right guard for Duke over his four-year career. He was a consensus all-American pick in his senior season, receiving first-time honors from the Associated Press. He performed well at the January Senior Bowl and began to move into the late first round on some mock drafts leading up to the draft.

The walk to the podium capped quite a journey for Tomlinson, which began in Jamaica before a confused 10-year-old arrived in Chicago having never seen snow. Read more about Tomlinson’s journey here.

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