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Falcons Fans Will Learn to Love Chris Lindstrom

By Dave Holcomb
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While he was a curious pick for the Falcons, Lindstrom is still a very good prospect that could end up having a fantastic NFL career.

The Atlanta Falcons looked like a bit of a disorganized mess on the first night of the 2019 NFL Draft.

First, Atlanta surprised many with the selection of Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom at No. 14 overall. Then, the Falcons traded back into the first round to take Washington offensive tackle Kaleb McGary with the No. 31 pick. That decision leaves Atlanta without a selection on Day 2, which could be a major problem given the team still has holes to fill on defense.

When free agency began in March, the Falcons signed guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown to multi-year deals. While Atlanta has added a few defensive players on one-year contracts in the last couple weeks, the initial thought process (at least from yours truly) was defense would be a focal point for this team early in the 2019 draft. Now it appears the Falcons won’t be drafting a defender until the fourth round.

With all of this in mind, it’s fair to wonder about the direction of this team. Atlanta’s offseason plan appears to be to throw as many offensive linemen at its pass protection problem as possible and hope the defense stays healthy and that the team’s injured 2018 players return to full strength. Both are bold strategies that could backfire badly.

But if draft experts and fans need to look at any of the first-round picks with a little nuance, it’s Lindstrom at No. 14. Because while he was a curious pick for the Falcons, Lindstrom is still a very good prospect that could end up having a fantastic NFL career.

The Boston College guard was considered one of the most athletic interior linemen in the 2019 draft, and while he has been raved for his quickness, he doesn’t sacrifice any size, standing at 6-foot-4 and 308 pounds.

The biggest attraction from Carpenter and Brown for the Falcons was their size. Each guard weighs more than 320 pounds and has earned the label “mauler” in the NFL. Lindstrom is lighter, but he comes to Atlanta with the same tenacity and attitude that coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons brass want to reintroduce into their roster.


“His quickness can place him in a position to make blocks on both the first and second levels, and he has an impressive ability to cover lateral space and protect his gaps as a pass blocker. Lindstrom is scrappy at the point of attack, but lacks the length, mass and strength some teams will want.”

The final part of that analysis is the main reason why Lindstrom was expected to be a late first-round pick rather than a top-half selection Thursday, but the Falcons are still getting a player that many project to be a starter this season.

Lindstrom played at offensive tackle a little bit in college, so it’s possible he could slide out there if the Falcons are set on starting Carpenter and Brown on the interior, but with McGary also in the mix, it’s probably unlikely Atlanta asks Lindstrom to make that transition.

If Lindstrom starts at guard immediately, the Falcons could be getting a new fixture along its offensive line that will be there for several years. At least that’s the skinny Pete Prisco of CBS Sports provided:

“When Matt Ryan is not protected from the interior, he has real problems. They got a guy that’s going to be a fixture on the interior there for a long time. I think Lindstrom is a feisty guy. Good, solid pick by the Falcons.”

Feisty might be the most operative word. Really, that’s what the Atlanta offseason plan amounts to -- the Falcons are adding as many big and/or athletic offensive linemen as they can find. Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are valuing lunch-pail guys.

There’s no denying drafting Lindstrom at No. 14 was a reach. There were more polished guards or more highly-regarded offensive tackles and defensive linemen available when the Falcons selected him.

But as much as one can dislike the pick, it’s harder to dislike the player. With time, the Falcons fan base will learn to love Lindstrom whenever he does become a starter.