Super Bowl Scuttle
The 1985 Chicago Bears were one of the greatest NFL teams of all time. The 1985 Tampa Bay Bucs, who finished 2-14 that season, were not one of the all time greatest teams. It was Steve Young's first season in the NFL and he was on a bad team going through a rebuild. Amazingly, the lowly Bucs nearly knocked off the Bears twice that year, holding substantial leads in both meetings, only to see the Bears mount 2nd half comebacks each time. The Bucs also nearly upset the Rams that year (the Rams eventually lost to the Bears in the NFC title game), but a late 4th quarter pick six allowed the Rams to escape with the victory. Chris Lindstrom Sr. was a backup DE for the Bucs. Part of the reason he got playing time was the great Lee Roy Selmon had what ended up being a career ending back injury. Against the Rams, Lindstrom recovered a fumble when the ball spontaneously popped out of Eric Dickerson's hand as he was running up the middle on a draw. It was a highlight in what otherwise was a relatively brief and unremarkable pro career for Lindstrom. Chris Lindstrom Jr., was a 1st round pick by the Falcons in 2019 and is emerging as one of the best offensive guards in the league. Will Alec Lindstrom have a pro career more like his older brother's or more like his dad's?
Name: Alec Lindstrom
College: Boston College
Shrine Bowl measurements: 6' 3 1/4'' tall, 294 pounds, 32 1/8'' arms, 9'' hands, 77 3/8'' wingspan
Age: Turns 24 in July. Redshirt Senior.
Snaps left handed. Had medical redshirt year as freshman in 2017 for undisclosed injury. Degree in management and leadership. Long snapper in 2018. BC used to be a power running team, but under a new coaching staff they transitioned to more of a passing scheme in 2020. Their offensive coordinator was Frank Cignetti Jr., who is a former Rams OC and QB coach. Weighed 240 pounds as a HS senior.
Host of a podcast called "Listen Up My Dudes". Created comedic videos on Instagram about food and cooking where he uses a catchphrase "What is up, my dudes" and a pseudonym, Rick. Personable, has quick sense of humor, very comfortable in front of a camera.
Had 73.4 PFF grade last season, was one of the top graded pass blocking centers in the country, per PFF with an 84.6 pass blocking grade.
Shrine Bowl practice reports said he was one of the best OL at that event.
CBSSports 177th overall prospect (late 5th round), compared him to Matt Skura (UDFA 2016)
PFN (Tony Pauline) 4th ranked C, 179th overall (5th round)
Drafttek 2nd ranked C, 90th overall (late 3rd round)
DraftCountdown 110th overall (Shane), 101st overall (Brian), so the consensus of their 2 analysts have him as about a late 3rd to early 4th round pick.
TDN (Joe Marino) 5th round grade, compared to Jimmy Morrissey (7th round 2021). Says he's a zone scheme center only.
Oliver Hodgkinson's profile for PFN says that Lindstrom has impressive, smooth footwork and is technically refined. Has excellent football IQ and awareness, fantastic anchor in pass protection for his size. Lacks quickness out of stance.
Draft profiles mention issues with snapping accuracy.
Snaps both in shotgun and with QB under center. Gets hands up quickly after snap.
Solid footwork, takes short and choppy steps, decent lateral range, staying balanced as he moves laterally.
Solid awareness and football IQ. Looks through the DT and is visually aware of movement by LB at 2nd level, which helps him on combo blocks and when reacting to twists and LB blitzes. Smart reaction when defender jumped into neutral zone to draw flag. Reads the movement of defenders after the snap with his eyes and typically he makes good decisions on how to react and adjust his blocking assignment. Good timing on combo block, leaving DT at right moment to work up to the LB. Handled T-E twist very well, picked up DE and smothered the move. Chipped 3 different defenders in quick succession on a single play. Processes things well in his mind on the fly.
Has ability to settle down bull rushes when he gets pushed backwards in pocket.
Rarely is he in firm control of blocks, pretty often he looks a bit shaky and has to battle hard to hold onto the block and sustain it.
Lacks core strength. Doesn't have ideal build, lacks lower body mass and power. Thrown to knees on multiple plays.
Likely to struggle against NFL level power and strength. Driven backwards too easily on pass blocks. Can get jolted by power on run blocks at LOS. Stacked up on short 3rd down runs, unable to generate any movement at all. On wide zone runs, too frequently pushed backwards off of the LOS, giving up penetration or causing his seal to be leaky and clogging the running lane. Even smaller defenders can drive him backwards by converting speed to power. Walked back to QB. Another play driven backwards until he collides with the QB, then shed and QB sacked. On run play, the NT explodes into him after the snap, drives him 2 yards into the backfield, then tackles the RB. On wide zone runs, driven backwards 2 yards off of the LOS.
Hands too slow, gets shed. Wide zone run, DE twists inside, hits the C, sheds the block and tackles the RB. Stacked and shed by DT. DE gets into his chest, then arm over move, collapses the front of the pocket, leading to sack on QB.
Average ability to recover. Beaten by quick move at LOS by the DE and due to limited recovery ability, quick pressure on QB created.
Makes little impact in short yardage situations. Not a drive blocker who can move the LOS forward.
Doesn't hit LB with enough power on 2nd level blocks. Too much finesse, not enough strength in his game and style of play. After initial engagement, doesn't drive into defender with much power to finish blocks or control opponent. Made soft, patty cake block on LB at the GL instead of driving defender backwards into the end zone.
Beaten by spin moves. Tends to lean into the defender on blocks.
Limited athlete, not enough speed, quickness or flexibility. If he has to pivot and turn his body in a phonebooth to try to adjust to a defender, he can't rotate his body quick enough sometimes. Too stiff of an athlete, leading to missed blocks on run plays and problems reacting to fast flowing pass rush situations. Feet too slow to turn and adjust against 3 man loop and the DT knocks him to the ground. When DT charges upfield instead of moving sideways against wide zone run, C can't adjust and recover, allowing the DT to crease him and penetrate into the backfield.
Average ability to climb to 2nd level. Not quick or explosive in movements. Has trouble adjusting to moving LBs at 2nd level.
Too slow on long pull around the OT. Not fast enough as a runner to lead the way for RB, no burst or acceleration. Slow as lead blocker on RB screens and limited change of direction in open field.
Some errant snaps. Had snap with QB under center where it looked like the ball never got up high enough to the QB and squirted away from the QB. Another one went wide to the side in shotgun.
Questionable position versatility, doesn't have requisite size or athleticism to play G or T. If he can't win a starting job at C, this makes him less valuable as a backup, because a reserve who can fill in at multiple OL positions has more flexibility and value to the team.
Pro Comparison and Grade
Ross Pierschbacher (5th round 2019 Washington Commanders, Alabama), Late round grade.
Lance Zierlein gave Pierschbacher a round 5 to 6 projection and compared him to Matt Skura (is Skura the "go to" comparison for every slow center?) saying that Pierschbacher was a good fit for zone scheme teams, was technical, had good initial quickness and predicted that Pierschbacher would become an average starting center early in his NFL career. Multiple other well known draft experts also evaluated Pierschbacher to be a 5th round prospect.
Pierschbacher has been a practice squad player so far in the NFL and is currently on a futures contract with the Jets, his 3rd NFL team. He has only had one offensive snap in his career and has yet to start a game in the NFL. The Rams drafted David Edwards 16 slots after Pierschbacher was drafted in the 5th round. Obviously, Edwards has been much more productive so far compared to Pierschbacher.
If they were in the same draft, I would take Pierschbacher earlier than Lindstrom. This is one reason I have Lindstrom graded so low. I don't see Lindstrom as an eventual starter in the NFL. I see him as a backup candidate and in the NFL a backup center isn't very valuable. On the college level, Lindstrom's effort, consistency and intelligence overcame his athletic limitations. I'm not sure he can cover up those weaknesses as much in the NFL.
One of the players the Rams have on a futures contract is Jeremiah Kolone was originally a Rams UDFA in 2018. He played in the AAF after he didn't initially catch on with the Rams. Kolone has longer arms (33 1/4'') than Lindstrom (32 1/8'', over an inch shorter) and is currently listed by the Rams at 316 pounds (22 pounds heavier than Lindstrom), up from the 304 pounds he was during the draft process. In my view, it isn't a shoe in that if you put Lindstrom on the Rams roster that he'd beat out Kolone on the depth chart.
Lindstrom has name recognition due to his family name, but I view him as a depth piece a team might look at towards the end of the draft, not as a priority prospect who should be valued in the first half of the draft.