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Kaleb McGary, Chris Lindstrom won’t be running with the backups for long

The two first rounders feel like inevitable starters, but they’ll have to go through the rookie rigamarole first.

NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary are both first round picks and presumptive starters. All that stands between them and a starting job is the likes of Ty Sambrailo, James Carpenter and/or Jamon Brown, and while all those players would be capable enough starters if the team decided to go that route, they almost certainly won’t.

Yet here we are in the waning days of May, and the snaps with the ones haven’t been plentiful for the duo. What gives?

The trick here, as is always is, is this team letting rookies learn the ropes and earn their spots. Teams are loathe to just hand rookies starting jobs, especially because there’s a lot of learning in terms of technique, scheme, and playbook to be done once they arrive. So while it’s great that Chris Lindstrom is tossing guys around already in his limited looks with the starters, and that McGary eventually ought to be doing the same, realistically you won’t see either one taking over those snaps full-time until the summer. It’s only time to panic if the season opens and they’re not listed as starters, because it’s a rare first rounder indeed who doesn’t waltz into that kind of role in year one.

The more interesting note is that both players are still lined up on the right side after a few OTA sessions. This was expected for McGary—the team has no fonder hope than the next five-plus years featuring a Jake Matthews/McGary duo at the two tackle spots—but for Lindstrom it’s not quite the outcome we’re hoping for here at The Falcoholic. Because Jamon Brown’s contract is weightier and more difficult to get out of, it would be ideal if he wound up winning a starting gig and he would seem to fit best at right guard, while Lindstrom certainly has the skill to be the long-term starter on the left side. With James Carpenter being a far more established starter, however, it may well be that the two rookies work next to one another and Brown serves as a top backup.

Either way, both rookies will be starting come September, so no great worries how they get there.