The Falcons made a mild surprise at 14th overall in this year’s draft. Let’s take a look at what the newest guard to the Falcons offensive line has to offer.
Once the clock began, the Falcons had a number of ideal prospects to choose from. Whether it was a defensive lineman or even a few of the best offensive tackle prospects, the Falcons just about conveyed the impression that they would select someone we all expected.
Instead, in typical fashion as of late, the Falcons decision makers threw a curve ball. At 14th overall in the draft, the Falcons selected who was considered the best interior offensive lineman in the entire draft. The pick was met with an equal share of celebratory remarks and head scratching whispers. Nonetheless, Atlanta now has a new bodyguard for veteran quarterback Matt Ryan. Without further ado, it’s time to take a look at the newest member of the Falcons brotherhood, Chris Lindstrom.
Chris Lindstrom Scouting Report
Weight: 310 lbs
Career stats: 47 starts in 50 games played over four seasons
Games watched: 2017 vs. Virginia Tech, 2017 vs. Notre Dame, 2018 vs. Clemson, 2018 vs. Miami
Strengths: The Lindstrom bloodline flows through the Boston area as his father once played at Boston University while his uncle suited up for Boston College in the mid-to-late 80s. Also, his younger brother is currently a member of the Eagles offensive line as a starter. During his four collegiate seasons with the Eagles, Lindstrom saw considerable playing time at right guard, left guard, and right tackle. Lindstrom has been molded into an athletic blocker with surprising quickness and agility.
In the run blocking phase, Lindstrom is very sound with his technique. Once Lindstrom latches on to defenders, his leg drive is capable of moving defenders out of the play at times. Getting to the second level in inside zone runs is not an issue at all for Lindstrom thanks to balance and well-timed burst. Lindstrom is able to withstand proper bull rushes by defensive linemen as a result of strong lower base. He may not have the look of a disrespectful mauler but Lindstrom has more than enough physicality and is aggressive from snap to whistle. During his junior season two years ago, Lindstrom earned All-ACC second team as a right tackle and earned All-ACC first team as a guard.
Weaknesses: Too often, Lindstrom is seen allowing opposing linemen to engage first which allows defenders to get into his pads too easily. As a result of the Boston College run heavy scheme on offense, Lindstrom does not have a ton of pass protection reps compared to other top offensive tackle prospects in the NFL Draft. The high pads after coming out of his stance are worth noting also. Lindstrom also does not have the ideal length, which also allows defenders to gain leverage early in pass protection.
Conclusion: As evident, Lindstrom does not have a long list of deficiencies. In this year’s draft, Lindstrom was easily one of the safer prospects. Four years of starting experience truly helped Lindstrom establish himself as a pro ready prospect. We can almost guarantee Lindstrom to be a rookie starter, only a matter of whether or not it will be at left or right guard.
Granted, Lindstrom’s selection at the 14th overall pick was one that many did not expect. More so because of the free agency signings of James Carpenter and Jamon Brown at the same position as Lindstrom. It somewhat creates a logjam at the guard position but it also sets up what is likely to be a long and fierce battle during training camp and preseason to see who would be the best options to start.
Protecting Matt Ryan has become paramount this offseason after the team gave up 42 sacks last season. The selection of Lindstrom shows the that the team is unwilling to show complacency, so credit is deserved. For Lindstrom, regardless how one may feel about where he was selected, the Falcons added an athletic presence on the offensive line that can very well be a Pro Bowler within his first few seasons as a professional and is a safe bet to be a very reliable starter for a long time. The offensive line is now more physical and is notably better with Lindstrom in Atlanta.