PFF ranks two Falcons offensive linemen among the league’s best

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The staff over at PFF does an extensive positional ranking each year, and they recognized Chris Lindstrom and Jake Matthews among some of the league’s best left tackles and guards. Lindstrom came in as the 12th ranked guard out of 64 total starters — left and right guard. Matthews came in as the ninth-best left tackle, and the reasoning for each ranking is below.

A former first-round pick, Lindstrom was notably better in Year 2 than he was as a rookie, and another jump this year could see him become one of the very best in the game. Both his run- and pass-blocking grades took a jump in his sophomore year, topping 70.0 for the first time. His pass-blocking efficiency was better, too, as his 97.6 mark was up from the 96.4 he put up as a rookie.

Matthews is the exact opposite of Mike McGlinchey, who sits a couple of spots ahead of him here. Matthews’ run blocking has consistently left a lot to be desired, but his pass blocking is among the best at the position year after year. He has been one of the 10 highest-graded tackles in pass protection in each of the past three seasons and one of the 20 highest-graded tackles in each of the past six.

Sam Monson ranked the guards, and he hit the nail right on the head. Lindstrom is a rapidly ascending player that will surely make an All-Pro team or two before it’s said and done. He exponentially improved his second year in the league, and Monson acknowledges that, with another sizable jump, Lindstrom will be among the best guards in the game. Rodger Saffold struggled early last year, Micheal Onwenu played guard in spots, and Brandon Brooks didn’t even play last year… Lindstrom should’ve been even higher than he was initially ranked. It’ll be a fun exercise to look back on these rankings to see which players continue their ascent or descent.

Anthony Treash formed the tackle rankings, and like Lindstrom, the characterization of Matthews was spot on. He’s been one of the best pass-blocking tackles in recent memory, though his run-blocking leaves something to be desired. In an offense that schemes around the players, Matthews should revert to a slightly above-average run blocker as he had his best years in that area with Kyle Shanahan’s zone-based scheme.

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