The Falcons Building Blocks series is a week-long series of stories that focuses in on certain talent that will be counted on throughout the course of the 2023 year in Atlanta, and beyond.
Two years ago, when I authored this series, and I had certain requirements and marks the players on this list must have. They had to be on a rookie contract. They had to be 27 years old and younger. They had to be thriving already, "with leadership qualities and potential for even better down the road." Though this list follows a similar pattern, like last year, there are no such requirements for the 2023 list compiled and authored by me and Tori McElhaney.
We're looking at players the Falcons can build around, regardless of age, overall status or contract details. The Falcons have a young foundation set. So, who are the main pillars of that foundation?
By Scott Bair
Arthur Smith said this offseason that the Falcons offensive line would be a foundational element of this organization. He wasn't lying.
Atlanta has invested heavily in its front, with the biggest paycheck now going to a young guard regarded among the best in the NFL. Chris Lindstrom signed a five-year contract extension that links him to Atlanta through the 2028 season. He'll be just 31 at that time, relatively young for an offensive lineman, and could end up like Grady Jarrett or Jake Matthews in earning a third contract from the same club.
- Falcons Building Blocks: Drake London | Kyle Pitts | Troy Andersen | Bijan Robinson | A.J. Terrell
- One burning question for each position group post-minicamp: Pt. I, the offense | Part II, the defense
- Falcons camp previews: Passing game | Secondary | Run game
- Full of Life: How Bijan Robinson fell in love with football
- How Bijan Robinson made quality first impression on Falcons teammates
- Finding Falcons rookie series: Bijan Robinson | Matthew Bergeron | Zach Harrison | Clark Phillips III | DeMarcco Hellams | Jovaughn Gwyn
That's a rarity is this day and age, where player movement remains high. Lindstrom could do that if he remains healthy, considering he's exactly the player the Falcons love. He's a hard worker committed to his craft. He's darn good at what he does. And he's a great locker room guy.
You've got to pay a premium for such a combination, and the Falcons didn't hesitate rewarding someone of high character and production.
"You take Chris Lindstrom – we believe he's an impact player with a rare makeup," GM Terry Fontenot said in late April. "Everything that he's about, that's what we're about."
Lindstrom got paid coming off a career year. Analytics site Pro Football Focus rated him the best run blocking guard in the league. He allowed just two sacks and nine overall quarterback pressures all season, without a single one from Week 11 on. He and Kaleb McGary were vital helping the Falcons ground game, which often worked going to the right side.
He was also named the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year, making a contract extension feel inevitable during this offseason. The Falcons announced the new deal at the start of the NFL league year and, even after the team made so many moves, they didn't hand out a bigger contract.
Lindstrom made it clear he wanted to remain in Atlanta and will do so for some time. He also understands that big money creates bigger expectations for him. He's ready to assume a leadership role and help his team take the next step after five straight sub. 500 campaigns.
"There's a belief in what we're doing and a belief that we're going to be successful here," Lindstrom said. "We know that we need to go win games and we're putting in the work required to go do that. The end goal is to win a Super Bowl, but how do you go about doing that? It's the day-to-day, working every single drill in the moment and keep stacking them together."
Get excited for training camp by taking a look at our offensive players from the 2023 Atlanta Falcons Creative Days.