Position: Interior defender (three-technique)
Weight: 310 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide
Dalvin Tomlinson 2017 NFL Draft Profile
Dalvin Tomlinson came to Alabama as a multi-faceted athlete. On the field, he was a four-star football recruit, a soccer goalie, and a three-time state champion wrestler coming from McDonough, GA. Off the field, Tomlinson was a bookworm and had a resume that could have got him into Harvard if football was not his true passion. Even despite tearing his ACL on the soccer field as a high school senior, Tomlinson still wanted to pursue football, and the 11th rated defensive tackle coming out of high school made his way to Nick Saban’s team at Alabama.
Of course, coming to college with a torn ACL meant a redshirt freshman season. On top of that, being on a loaded Alabama team with pro talent at every position also meant limited playing time in his first two seasons. He tore his other ACL as a redshirt freshman, and Tomlinson only participated in nine games in his first two seasons with the Crimson Tide. He recorded a combined 26 tackles, 4.5 for loss and one sack.
As a junior, he still did not start but entered a rotation behind two NFL draft picks, A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. In that role, he put up 34 tackles and was a major piece of depth on the Alabama National Championship roster. With those two gone to the NFL, it was finally time for Tomlinson to shine, and he did just that. He put up 62 tackles, 5.5 for loss and three sacks on an Alabama team that went undefeated in the regular season. He was one of the most underrated pieces on that Alabama defensive front and has a skill set that will find him in the NFL. What round will he get drafted in, and whose pro skill-set does he compare favorably to?
- Great in run defense.
- Wins with power.
- Can hold his ground against double teams.
- Does well in creating leverage.
- Has quick and heavy hands that give him an ability to shed blocks.
- Tore both of his ACLs already.
- Lacks lateral quickness.
- Lacks any real pass rushing move.
- Doesn’t have great burst off of the ball.
- Most likely a two-down player in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Stacy McGee
Teams with needs at position: Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans
Projection: Third round
Tomlinson knows exactly what he does well, and makes the most of it. He is a smart football player and has a role that he executes exceptionally. Tomlinson is not the quickest player out of the gates and does not have the burst to immediately find himself in the backfield. What Tomlinson does have, though, is the lower body strength to plant his feet in the middle of the field and dictate where running backs have to go. He wins with leverage, and he is able to keep offensive lineman from pushing him backward or sealing him off.
It isn’t the prettiest display of football, but it sets the entire defense up for success. Tomlinson is a valued commodity in the NFL, but the question is how valued? Last season, his former teammate Jarran Reed, and Andrew Billings of Baylor fell into the middle rounds due to their inability to be a pass rushing commodity. Reed was a more polished run defender, and while Billings had injury questions, so does Tomlinson, from his past ACL issues. He is likely to slide into the third or fourth round, but he is a guy who can provide snaps immediately and play as a rookie in the NFL.