Lions trade down to No. 28 pick in deal with Denver, then take G Laken Tomlinson of Duke

By Noah Trister


ALLEN PARK, Mich. _ The Detroit Lions drafted guard Laken Tomlinson of Duke in the first round Thursday night after trading down from the No. 23 pick to No. 28 in a deal with Denver.

Tomlinson is the first player out of Duke to go in the first round since Cleveland took linebacker Mike Junkin with the fifth overall pick in 1987.

Detroit traded the No. 23 pick to the Broncos, moving down five spots and acquiring offensive lineman Manny Ramirez, a fifth-round pick this year and a fifth-rounder next year from Denver.

The Lions have been reshuffling their offensive line after Matthew Stafford was sacked a career-high 45 times last season. Detroit has moved on from longtime centre Dominic Raiola, and guard Rob Sims’ future is uncertain.

The Lions came into the draft with needs on both lines and at running back. They were already picking later than usual in the first round after last season’s playoff appearance, and they were able to acquire a couple picks and a player by moving down a bit further.

Detroit came into the draft with only six scheduled picks this year.

Tomlinson was a first-team All-American as a senior this past season. Tomlinson also received the 2014 Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. He grew up in Jamaica and came to the U.S. when he was 10, growing 7 inches and gaining about 80 pounds in his first year in the country.

This was the latest opening pick for the Lions since 1993, when they did not have a first rounder

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