Austin Hooper is now a member of the Cleveland Browns after they made him the highest-paid tight end the game, signing him to a four-year, $44 million contract. He had some nice parting words for the team that drafted and developed him and even left us with a promising nugget on the way out regarding last year’s 14th overall pick. Hooper told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that he believes Chris Lindstrom will become one of the best offensive linemen in football, eventually.
One thing Austin Hooper told me on his way out: “I think Chris [Lindstrom] is going to be the best [offensive] lineman in the NFL, eventually. I really think he’s going to be that good.’’
— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) March 18, 2020
With typical Falcons’ luck, Lindstrom suffered a left foot injury that landed him on IR after Week 1. Atlanta’s offensive line unit had no chance after that, but he was able to return for the final four weeks of the season, and it’s no coincidence they became a much more reliable group — both in the run and passing game.
Lindstrom was a force at Boston College, grading out as one of the best linemen in college, according to PFF, and teams loved him coming into the draft, which is why the Falcons took no chances and selected him 14th overall. Matt Ryan also had some fond words of his new teammate heading into last season, calling him one of the primary reasons he thought the team could be much better in 2019, which is why his injury so early in the year was such a disappointment. However, those words from him, and now Hooper, have to give Falcons fans confidence that they did make the right decision with their first selection in last year’s draft. Here’s to hoping he can stay healthy for the entirety of 2020, and Atlanta can help keep Matt Ryan off his back while establishing some semblance of a running game for the first time in a few years.
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