Boston College football has produced four NFL defensive backs in the past three years, and the program has three more waiting to hear their name called this week in Nashville, but BC hasn’t lost its knack for churning out league-ready offensive lineman. It lived up to its O-Line U reputation on Thursday night, when Chris Lindstrom was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 14th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Now, dating back to 2000, 14 of the Eagles’ last 39 draft picks have been O-Linemen. To put that in perspective, no other program in the country has had a higher percentage of its picks originate from the offensive line during that 19-year span.
Lindstrom is the first Eagle to be picked in the opening round of the draft since Luke Kuechly back in 2012 and the program’s 10th prospect to go on Day One since 2000.
“Chris is one of the most dominant offensive linemen I have coached in my career,” BC head coach Steve Addazio told BCEagles.com. “He has a toughness to him, along with tremendous athleticism. He is a student of the game and will do just a phenomenal job with the Falcons.”
After receiving just two scholarship offers at Shepherd Hill High School—Old Dominion and BC—and arriving on campus at just 260 pounds, the Dudley, Mass. native blossomed into a top-tier ACC guard, starting his final 47 games in an Eagles uniform and earning All-ACC honors in each of his last two years on the Heights. While at BC, Lindstrom was as consistent as it gets, anchoring one of the better offensive lines in the conference and finishing his senior campaign as the team’s top-graded lineman. Yet it wasn’t till after the 2018 season ended that he played his way into the first round of the draft.
Lindstrom wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl and was one of NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s “Save the Best for Last” honorees—an in-game award recognizing four players that improved their stock the most throughout the week in Mobile, Ala. At 308 pounds, the senior showcased his quick feet and calculated hand placement off the line.
Despite getting pushed into the pocket in the game’s first few series, Lindstrom erased all doubt in the fourth quarter with three straight punishing blocks, carving up a great deal of space for the North offense. Not only that, but he also demonstrated the skills to swiftly pull across the line, rise up to the second level, and act as a lead blocker—a task that Lindstrom even performed from the backfield at BC.
After the Senior Bowl, some analysts rated Lindstrom as the top guard in this year’s draft. He persuaded many more five weeks later at the NFL Combine. Lindstrom ran a 4.91 40-yard dash, the second fastest of 2019 Combine participating O-Linemen, and was one of just four in his position group to cross the line under five seconds. That said, the “short-armed” guard paled in comparison to some of his fellow prospects on the bench press, only recording 25 reps. But what he lacks in upper body strength, he makes up for in athleticism. All draft season, most notably the Combine, Lindstrom impressed NFL personnel with his footwork and ability to burst out of the trenches.
As of Thursday morning, Lindstrom was projected by ESPN NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay to go 18th and 31st overall, respectively. Instead, the interior lineman became the first BC player to be drafted by the Falcons since Matt Ryan, the quarterback he’ll now be protecting on a week-to-week basis.
Lindstrom is BC’s fifth-highest pick since the NFL adopted its current seven-round draft model (1994-present) and eighth-highest selection in school history. Thursday marked just the beginning of what is to be a historical weekend for BC football.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor