The run on Alabama Crimson Tide players continued on Friday when the New York Giants selected defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson with the 23rd pick of the second round in the 2017 NFL Draft.
It’s easy to get caught up in tangibles when it comes to the Draft. The Combine numbers, the stats compiled in college, etc. And while those things matter, when it comes to the business world, a man’s character also counts. And whatever team is lucky enough to land Alabama defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson is getting a ferocious football player who wears his character, just as he always wears a special necklace, given him by his mom before she passed away. Having lost both his parents in his youth, his dad at age five, his mom in high school, Tomlinson has dealt with grief in his young life and come away stronger.
At Alabama, Tomlinson totaled 122 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 9 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble. Coaches and teammates say stats are only a small part of who Dalvin is on the field, but friends and fans have also come to see the complexity of this very large young man’s personality. Wrestling experts, who saw him win three state titles in high school, say he could have been an Olympic heavyweight wrestling gold medalist. His high school transcripts suggest he could have done well scholastically at an Ivy League college. Tomlinson plays both the saxophone and the trumpet, and he is quite a talented artist as well.
By all accounts Tomlinson personifies the oft overused phrase, “gentle giant,” except when it comes to getting after folks on the football field. At the combine the 6-3 310 pounds Tomlinson ran a 5.19 40, had a 27 inch vertical jump and a 110 inch broad jump. He scored a 25 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test. The fact that Tomlinson played football and graduated with two degrees, finance and financial planning, suggest the Wonderlic is a bit archaic. (Here’s a link if you want to try taking it.)
NFL.com cites as strengths Dalvin’s 33 1/2 inch arm length, (which he used playing goalie on his high school soccer team) as well as his ability to fire a jarring punch in blocks quickly. His broad powerful hips and strong legs (high school wrestling pays off) help him drop anchor against down blocks. He can maintain two-gap responsibility until its time to tackle. Can recognize formations and know where to be. His active hands in the passing lanes allow him to bat down passes. Most importantly here: Tomlinson is credited with the willingness to dirty work.
Tomlinson only had one season playing more than 45% of this team’s defensive snaps. He has been able to operate under the radar because of the upper echelon players around time. He is said to be a slow twitch defender who lacks quickness into the neutral zone off the gap, one who makes predictable pass rush charges and doesn’t get enough push as a bull rusher.
A recent Sports Illustrated article, written by Andy Staples, refers to Tomlinson as a ‘bad-ass,’ and the men he lined up with at Alabama suggest a 3rd or 4th round projection is too low for what Tomlinson brings to the table. Not only has he whipped almost every teammate in wrestling, he is known for clogging whatever gap needs clogging, allowing linebackers the ability to make the play. (ie that’s the dirty work.) Jonathan Allen is quoted as saying, ’He could be a three-technique in a 4–3 defensive front or an end in a 3–4, but no matter how he is deployed,” and that, “You have to be selfless to take on double teams,” Allen says of Tomlinson. “You know you’re not going to get the numbers you want, but you’re helping the team more than anyone.”
New York is getting a young man who will play above his draft position and is a quality person.