Yesterday we discussed the offensive undrafted free agent most likely to make the Dallas Cowboys roster. Today we look at another undrafted free agent the Cowboys acquired post draft that has the best shot of making the team this year. This individual played on arguably one of the best offensive lines in all of college football this past season. The player being discussed here is Boston College center Alec Lindstrom.
Coming out of high school, he wasn’t as highly touted as someone like Markquese Bell, but nevertheless he was a 2-star recruit and decided to stay close to home and play for the Boston College Eagles of the ACC conference. He was a bit undersized to play offensive line at the Division 1 level due to only weighing 240 pounds when he arrived on campus. However, if you look at his family tree, you’ll see that his father, Chris Sr., is 6’7” and weighed 260 during his NFL days. Also, Alec’s big brother Chris Lindstrom Jr. ended up becoming a top-14 draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The road to stardom didn’t exactly happen overnight as it took until his redshirt freshman year in 2018, and an injury to the starting center for Lindstrom to get on the playing field. Aside from this short stretch in the starting lineup, he didn’t play much the rest of that season. He was relegated to playing on special teams as the long snapper. Moving onto 2019 is where he really started finding his groove, and ended up starting all 13 games. He capped it off by being awarded Third-team All-ACC.
As the 2020 season was beginning, Lindstrom, coming off a solid 2019 campaign, was added to the Rimington Award watch list which is a prestigious honor for the top centers in all of college football. Although he ended up not being selected as a finalist, he still received First-team All-ACC honors which indicated that he still had a very good season. In fact, he only allowed one sack all season which is a tremendous accomplishment.
In the 2021 season, expectations for Lindstrom were even higher than in 2020 because he garnered recognition from the prestigious Phil Steele All-American team. He ended up Second-team behind Tyler Linderbaum, whom many draft experts projected Dallas to pick in the first round of this past year’s draft. However, he ended up in Baltimore. Although Linderbaum ended up winning the Rimington in 2021, Lindstrom was a finalist and considered one of the top three centers in all of college football. Yet again, another impressive season.
Right off the bat from a scouting perspective, his fundamentals are ahead of many players at this stage. This makes a whole lot of sense because his father was his high school coach that also played defensive end in the NFL. It also doesn’t hurt to have an older brother currently playing offensive line in the NFL whom you have to believe has given him tips and tricks as he begins his journey into the league. To be more specific, his hand placement is impeccable and once he latches on, it’s over. Lindstrom is also very good in the screen game and makes nice blocks at the second level.
Technique and fundamentals aside, he has a high football IQ, and understands formations and how to read the defense. This is an essential trait that all good centers have because they are typically known as one of the smartest players on a football team. If you can’t make line calls, and adjust blocking assignments, then you will not have much success as an NFL center. You want someone who can make good calls to help put his quarterback in the right situation for a higher probability of success on each play. Lindstrom has high marks in this area which makes sense because he was one the best centers in college football the last couple seasons. In addition to his fundamentals, he also is a better athlete than he gets credit for, and he plays with a nasty streak which is another good trait to have to excel in the NFL. Many had Lindstrom as an early day three selection, and for Dallas to sign him as an undrafted player is great value.
However, he was an undrafted free agent. Which means he has some flaws in his game. In his case, it’s not necessarily about being coached up from a technical perspective. It’s more so about getting into an NFL strength and conditioning program. That’s not to say Boston College doesn’t have decent facilities, it just means that he will be getting into a professional program which is something that will benefit him greatly. The main flaws in his game are strength and it’s evident on tape, especially against stronger nose tackles. Due to being out-powered at times, he has relied on his technique to win those battles in the trenches. The issue with that is if he isn’t technically sound on every single snap, then the lack of power he possesses can be a determinant, and he starts to lose leverage which can mean pressure quickly in the quarterback’s face.
Lindstrom has all the tools to become a successful center in the league. Although he is a tad undersized for the position, he makes up for it with tremendous technique. He already has a high IQ, and is very solid in that area as it goes for calls and shifts. What can get him in trouble at times is his strength, primarily his lower body as he has a tendency to be overpowered by defensive tackles. If he can continue to get stronger, he has a legitimate shot at not only becoming the backup center, but challenging Tyler Biadasz for the starting center position. This battle will be very interesting as we get closer to the regular season.