We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
We’ll get things started with the projected starters. After taking stock of WR, we now turn our attention to the offensive line. The Falcons have had a lot of turnover up front over the past several years with the addition of four new linemen in 2019: first-round picks Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary, and veteran free agents Jamon Brown and James Carpenter. Meanwhile, All Pro center Alex Mack is nearing retirement, leaving only LT Jake Matthews as a long-term certainty along the OL.
Today we take a closer look at second-year player Chris Lindstrom, who will start once again at RG after an injury-marred rookie season.
RG Chris Lindstrom
Contract: $3.34M cap hit in 2020, rookie contract through 2022 ($3.675M APY), possible fifth-year option in 2023
Career Production: 5 games played, 5 games started | 66.2 overall PFF grade | 1 total penalty
2019 Production: Same as above
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 1st round (#14 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2019-present)
The Falcons’ selection of Chris Lindstrom at 14th overall in 2019 was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. Guard was not considered one of Atlanta’s big weaknesses heading into the draft, and the team had signed two guards to starting-caliber contracts in free agency (Jamon Brown and James Carpenter). Many fans—myself included—were hoping for a trade-up for DT Ed Oliver, a selection of a top EDGE like Brian Burns, or an OT like Jawaan Taylor to replace Ryan Schraeder on the right side. But the team shocked us all, committing to a significant interior OL overhaul by drafting the guard out of Boston College.
After an injury-plagued year on the offensive line in 2018 it made some sense for the Falcons to invest more resources in depth. Lindstrom certainly checked all of the boxes for the Falcons: he’s an incredible athlete with good size and length. Lindstrom has advanced technique for a college player and was universally praised for his attitude and football IQ in the pre-draft process. Needless to say, expectations were high for Lindstrom, who established himself as the starter at RG early in training camp.
Lindstrom acquitted himself well in camp and in the preseason, and all signs were pointing to an exciting rookie year. Unfortunately, Lindstrom would suffer a significant foot injury in Week 1 that would sideline him for the vast majority of the season. Lindstrom worked hard to return late in the year, and he successfully came back off IR in time for Week 14.
He started a little slow after his return from injury, but ultimately ended the season playing at an above-average level. Lindstrom’s overall PFF grade of 66.2 isn’t particularly exciting—it’s about the level of an average starter—but his ability to recover from a difficult injury, make it back on the field, and immediately improve the OL should not be overlooked. Now heading into 2020 with a clean bill of health and a full offseason under his belt, fans should have high hopes for a big improvement from Lindstrom this year.
Projection: Chris Lindstrom will have a big opportunity to cement himself as an up-and-coming guard in 2020 after an injury-shortened rookie year. Look for Lindstrom to make a second-year leap, finishing the season as an above-average guard in both run blocking and pass protection. His presence in the lineup for 16 games should have a significant impact on the efficiency of Atlanta’s offense.