Here at the Combine, I have had the opportunity to speak with a number of players, both on and off the record. One of my favorite questions to ask is how they would feel about potentially playing for the San Francisco 49ers and any number of star players currently on the roster.
I had the pleasure of speaking with a couple of offensive linemen, and I asked them in a couple of different ways how they would feel about being drafted by the 49ers. I got varied responses, ranging from their comfort from scheme fit to playing alongside a generational player like Trent Williams.
My favorite answer came from Boston College center Alec Lindstrom, whose brother Chris plays in a similar scheme to Kyle Shanahan’s under Arthur Smith in Atlanta. Lindstrom went in-depth talking about his experience with a zone-blocking scheme and his brothers' familiarity with a key member of the 49ers offense.
Here is the full question and answer.
What are your feelings about potentially playing in an offense like Kyle Shanahan’s that’s so heavily predicated on those explosive outside zone runs?
“Yeah, you know I love watching that. You look at guys like Alex Mack. He played with the Falcons with my brother. Chris said he was a great guy, and watching someone like him, he’s someone I watched growing up with his tape, big outside zone guy, and he’s a great player.
That’s kind of where we got our offense at BC. Coach Cignetti got it from San Francisco, coach Applebaum with the Dolphins learned from the San Francisco O-line coach. And the way they use their scheme in the outside zone, I really think that fits me. Again, I’ll do whatever, wherever, but I really like watching them on the field.”
I asked Boston College center Alec Lindstrom about how he would feel about playing in Kyle Shanahan’s offense— Jordan Elliott (@splash_cousin) March 3, 2022
His face immediately lit up at the mention of Shanahan’s scheme, and he also heaped praise on current 49ers center Alex Mack pic.twitter.com/D7sczZH8Lj
The biggest takeaway I took from this was the body language Lindstrom displayed while answering this question. He immediately perked up and had a clear expression of genuine enthusiasm on his face at the slightest mention of him potentially playing for the 49ers and getting the chance to learn from a guy like Alex Mack.
That kind of enthusiasm is infectious, and to me, it’s really what sets guys apart at what is essentially a week-long job interview. The passion was beyond evident, but it was also accompanied by a high level of football IQ and intelligence that clearly stemmed from the amount of time and effort Lindstrom has put into improving his craft.
Lindstrom spoke so eloquently about the intricacies of the zone-blocking scheme and displayed a true passion for the game of football when diving deeper into what he does to improve his own game when it comes to tape study. He came across as a bona fide football guy, a trait that John Lynch and this front office have made no secret that they covet.
Lynch stated he was confident Mack would return in 2022, but the idea of the 49ers drafting his heir apparent this season is certainly on the table. Based on the scheme fit and the familiarity with Shanahan’s offense, I don’t see a player in this draft who would be a better fit for this 49ers team moving forward.