Former Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom and former Washington offensive tackle Kaleb McGary come from different parts of the country, but will forever be linked in Falcons lore.
Both were selected in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday and were added to help solidify what was a shaky offensive line.
Lindstrom, an all-ACC selection, was selected with the 14th pick in the draft. The Falcons traded their second-round pick (45th overall) and their third-round pick (79th) to the Los Angeles Rams to move up 14 spots to 31st in the first round to select McGary. The Falcons added a sixth-round pick (203 overall) in the deal.
Both will compete immediately for starting positions at right guard and right tackle.
Lindstrom, from Dudley, Mass., and McGary, of Fife, Wash., were flown in to meet with team officials and the media Friday.
“It’s unreal,” Lindstrom said. “It was really a dream come true. Everyone growing up playing football, dreams about playing in the NFL.
“This is really a culmination of my work and my family’s support. Getting that phone call was incredible, and I’m just thankful to be an Atlanta Falcon. I can’t wait to go to work.”
The Falcons sent a several executives to Massachusetts to work out Lindstrom two weeks ago.
“It was a great workout,” Lindstrom said. “I had a great relationship with the staff and everyone. Atlanta was definitely a place that I wanted to go. I’m just thankful for this opportunity.”
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, coach Dan Quinn, assistant general manager Scott Pioli, offensive line coach Chris Morgan and assistant offensive line coach Bob Kronenberg were at the workout.
Lindstrom was not told if he would be considered a starter.
“I’m just trying to help the team, come in and work,” Lindstrom said.
He was asked, “Can you start in the NFL?”
“I’m just trying to come in and work right now and try to be a great player,” Lindstrom said.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan played at Boston College.
“He’s come up to speak to the team a few times,” Lindstrom said. “He’s a great ambassador to what it means to be a B.C. man and I’m thankful that I’ll be able to play with him.”
Lindstrom comes from an NFL background.
His dad, Chris Lindstrom, was drafted in the eighth round of the 1982 draft by the Cardinals. He played in 19 games and made five starts. His uncle David Lindstrom was drafted in the sixth round of the 1977 draft and went on to play 118 games and made 30 starts.
“They have been great role models in my life,” Lindstrom said. “A lot has changed in football since they played, but a lot of the mental aspects (have not.)”
The family members and NFL alums taught the younger Lindstrom to eliminate distractions while trying to work on becoming a great player.
McGary, who had a difficult upbringing, was a four-year starter for the Huskies.
“There are no words man,” McGary said. “I couldn't be happier. I don't even know what to do with myself right now. I'm so happy.”
McGary was projected to go late in the second round or early in the third by most draft analysts. Dimitroff said the Falcons wanted to be aggressive and didn’t want to miss out on McGary if there was a run on linemen early in the second round.
McGary was grateful that the Falcons traded up for him.
“They're getting a guy that is very prideful of being a lineman,” McGary said. “I love everything about being a lineman. I'm going to bust my tail to protect their quarterback and tailback as much as I can.”
McGary has heard the talk about starting. He’d have to beat out Ty Sambrailo, who finished last season as the starter after Ryan Schraeder lost his job.
“As far as starting goes, I'm just going to come in and do the best I can and compete,” McGary said. “Work and try to contribute in any way that I can.”
McGary took a top-30 visit to the Falcons during the pre-draft process.
“I thought that it went very well,” McGary said. “I really enjoyed my visit, and I felt very happy and very comfortable there, and I'm very, very, very excited that they must have felt the same way with me.”
McGary was somewhat stunned that he went so high in the draft.
“I wouldn't say expecting, but I was hoping to be (selected in the first round),” McGary said. “Honestly, I was just ready to leave it in God's hands and, you know, let the chips fall where they may.”