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Building blocks: Chris Lindstrom


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The Falcons entered the 2019 NFL Draft set on reshaping their offensive line. They took two in the first round, including a guard far higher than guards normally go.

Chris Lindstrom was well worth the lofty pick. The No. 14 overall selection has thrived on the right side, living up to sky-high expectations coming out of Boston College. He's a road grader in the run game and a steady pass protector. He's a vocal leader and a tone setter with tough, physical play on the inside.

He played 1,122 offensive snaps in 2020 and allowed just 29 total quarterback pressures, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, including four sacks. He operated well in both zone and power/gap run schemes last season, with the Falcons averaging 4.5 yards per carry between him and the center and 4.2 between him and the right tackle. He's also adept in blocking space, with solid agility for someone his size.

Last season offered the first glimpse of how good Lindstrom could be after his rookie year was sapped by a foot injury. The best remains ahead for someone who should be a consistent presence along the offensive front for years to come. He'll be under contract through 2023 if his fifth-year option gets picked up and is the type a team should build around up front.

He'll continue to grow working next to fellow 2019 first-round pick and starting right tackle Kaleb McGary, who hasn't been as strong to this point. McGary has graded out well at times but PFF stats suggest he needs to be more consistent in pass protection.

Guard is a historically underrated position, though that's starting to change these days. We're seeing top guards getting paid handsomely, with several recognized for work most casual fans ignore or don't fully understand. New head coach Arthur Smith certainly respects interior efforts after playing the position at North Carolina. He knows he has a good one in Lindstrom.

Having a quality player and staple working on a rookie deal will allow the Falcons to focus resources on other spots in their attempts to solidify the offensive front and a run game that needs overall improvement. His leadership role should expand with experience, especially if he performs as well in 2021 as he did last season. Lindstrom as the personality for it and has clearly garnered respect in the Falcons locker room.

He has lived up to the No. 14 overall pick two years back and could lead a youth movement up front if McGary improves, Matt Hennessy performs well at center after being Alex Mack's understudy and rookie Jalen Mayfield can eventually take hold at left guard or another spot along the line. Veteran left tackle Jake Matthews will be around for a while longer and is a staple at his position, but Lindstrom should be there to take the baton and lead the line into the future. The offense will have different personnel in a few seasons, so the Falcons need Lindstrom to continually improve and provide stability at a spot too often taken for granted.

Falcons Building Blocks: Chris Lindstrom a stabilizing force along offensive line (atlantafalcons.com)

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Loved this pick.  Really hope he kills it this year and stays healthy!  Even more so his shaky draftmate McGary.  Man if this unit is average or better the offense is going to roll.  Ryan deserves to finish out his career with a respectable OL and it may be locking in the core personnel and hitting its stride just in time.  Can Not Wait!

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Posted (edited)

Not nearly as up on NCAA prospects as lots of other folks on this board, but at minimum I'd say you are very close to being right about him being a reach the way they jumped back up for him.  If that's how it plays out it'll be a shame obviously.  Dude sure looks the part.  But not while he's immobilized on the ground because his ticker's messing up.

 

octoslash

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If I said McGary was a bad pick, am I wrong? 

Edited by jmorrison
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4 hours ago, Lornoth said:

Our OLine didn't struggle because of him though.

Of course not. But my point was he’s not reached the point of (post I was responding to) “thriving” …at least not yet. But he did take a step forward last year. Hopefully in year 3 he and rest of OL starts reaching their potential this season.

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6 hours ago, octoslash said:

If I said McGary was a bad pick, am I wrong? 

I'd say so. He has performed for what he is, a developing  second round talent that we zeroed in on, and had to trade back into 1st at number 31 to get. Not a first round talent but none are at #31. 

 

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Lindstrom is a solid RG who is going to shine in this offense. His best days are ahead of him and he'll be a big part of our OL far into the future. Hopefully this is the year McGary catches up and starts holding his own in pass protection as well. Lindstrom I suspect will be a great source of stability for both Hennessy and McGary this season.

With Smith's OL-friendly scheme, an excellent line coach in Dwayne Ledford along with more quality depth, this unit should be better than it's been in years. If it is, teams are going to have a tough time keeping this offense out of the end zone.

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1 hour ago, Vandy said:

Of course not. But my point was he’s not reached the point of (post I was responding to) “thriving” …at least not yet. But he did take a step forward last year. Hopefully in year 3 he and rest of OL starts reaching their potential this season.

Fair. I would say he got as close to thriving in a Koetter scheme as you could expect last year though. Our OL will surprise a lot of folks on this board this year.

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1 minute ago, Lornoth said:

Fair. I would say he got as close to thriving in a Koetter scheme as you could expect last year though. Our OL will surprise a lot of folks on this board this year.

I am genuinely encouraged by our line.  The young players they have brought in, with the nucleus of existing players in place, plus enough camp competition to see some cream rise up is exciting for me.  I cannot wait to see our line play.  Once we start springing some running plays, add depth to our play action, and genuinely infuriate the defense will be a great day.  I think too many people are sleeping on the potential of our line.  

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7 hours ago, octoslash said:

If I said McGary was a bad pick, am I wrong? 

I don't think you are wrong, given the scheme we ran previously.  McGary is not a power tackle.  His frame and stance, along with his footwork scream outside blocking.  For a tall guy, he moves laterally well.  He engages quickly, but will get pushed around on the bull rush.  Hopefully, with out more dedicated scheme that fits his skillset, I think we see a rebound from him.  Honestly, this young line is exciting to me.  Insert some anger, instill team first mentality, some camaraderie, and a commitment to be a **** wall to protect not only Matt but to spring our running game, and I think you will see a line that will make us all proud.  Wildly excited here.  Or maybe its the absinthe and I am happy as **** right now.  

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17 hours ago, Herr Doktor said:

I don't think you are wrong, given the scheme we ran previously.  McGary is not a power tackle.  His frame and stance, along with his footwork scream outside blocking.  For a tall guy, he moves laterally well.  He engages quickly, but will get pushed around on the bull rush.  Hopefully, with out more dedicated scheme that fits his skillset, I think we see a rebound from him.  Honestly, this young line is exciting to me.  Insert some anger, instill team first mentality, some camaraderie, and a commitment to be a **** wall to protect not only Matt but to spring our running game, and I think you will see a line that will make us all proud.  Wildly excited here.  Or maybe its the absinthe and I am happy as **** right now.  

I could be wrong but I believe that this is where the addition of Ledford will pay dividends.  The UofL offense had a tough year last year after losing a couple of key pieces on the OL but his track record overall, speaks for itself.  Add to this that AS understands how to use the run game to get the OL the confidence that it needs (such a contrast from DK)....I think we could have something good brewing if things fall into place.

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18 hours ago, PokerSteve said:

Lindstrom is a solid RG who is going to shine in this offense. His best days are ahead of him and he'll be a big part of our OL far into the future. Hopefully this is the year McGary catches up and starts holding his own in pass protection as well. Lindstrom I suspect will be a great source of stability for both Hennessy and McGary this season.

With Smith's OL-friendly scheme, an excellent line coach in Dwayne Ledford along with more quality depth, this unit should be better than it's been in years. If it is, teams are going to have a tough time keeping this offense out of the end zone.

Ironically Tennessee was a team some scouts said would be a perfect fit for him. Amazing how things work sometimes

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On 7/8/2021 at 4:05 PM, Vandy said:

Of course not. But my point was he’s not reached the point of (post I was responding to) “thriving” …at least not yet. But he did take a step forward last year. Hopefully in year 3 he and rest of OL starts reaching their potential this season.

he will have a better and longer career than your guy 😉

Vandy still sore we didn't take Dexter Lawrence.

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