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Atlanta Falcons offensive linemen and first-round draft picks Kaleb McGary (76) and Chris Lindstrom (63) go through drills Friday during the team's rookie minicamp in Flowery Branch, Ga.
some text Atlanta Falcons offensive linemen and first-round draft picks Chris Lindstrom (63) and Kaleb McGary (76) take a break Friday during the team's rookie minicamp in Flowery Branch, Ga.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — No introductions were necessary for Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary on the opening day of the Atlanta Falcons' rookie minicamp.

The first-round picks were good friends even before they lined up on the right side of the offensive line from the start of Friday's workout.

They got to know each other while playing for the same team at the Senior Bowl in January and again worked out together at the NFL combine in late winter. Then the Falcons selected Lindstrom and then McGary in the first round of the draft last month.

"Going from the combine to here, that was crazy," McGary said after practice. "From the Senior Bowl to the combine to here, that was wild. It was actually pretty cool, pretty organic, really."

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff traded second- and third-round picks to select McGary late in the first round after using the No. 13 overall pick to draft Lindstrom.

"It was really cool to build that relationship, and then when he got drafted I was so happy I texted him right away," Lindstrom said. "It's been awesome together."

Lindstrom and McGary could open the 2019 season as the starters at right guard and right tackle, respectively. The two lined up together from the first snap on Friday.

"We parked them right next to one another," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. "They already have a good chemistry together, but I was pleased with the first day."

Quinn took bold action in firing all three coordinators after the Falcons went 7-9 in 2018. Similarly, he spared no feelings after the season when he said only two starters on the offensive line — center Alex Mack and left tackle Jake Matthews — had played well enough to keep their jobs.

The Falcons' commitment to improving the line began by signing guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter in free agency. Dimitroff and Quinn then looked for more size in the draft, though Lindstrom (6-4, 310) also impressed the Falcons with his quickness. McGary (6-8, 324) is even bigger than Quinn expected.

"When you first see him, you say that's a big fill-in-the-blank," the coach said with a smile.

It was more than McGary's size, though, that convinced the Falcons to draft the former University of Washington tackle.

"Then you see him come off the ball, those are things that get you excited about him, because he's got quickness for a big man," Quinn said. "Not just top-heavy but legs, and he's got power. So when he jumps off the ball, it was impressive today."

Last year's line failed to protect quarterback Matt Ryan, who was sacked 42 times, the second-highest total of his NFL career that began in 2008. Ryan was hit 113 times, the third-highest total for an NFL quarterback last year.

Friday's practice was Quinn's first in his new role as defensive coordinator. He led the Seattle Seahawks' defense before he was hired to lead the Falcons in 2015.

Quin was asked, as coach, how his new defensive coordinator measured up.

"I'd say there's definitely work to be done," he said, "but man did I have a blast."

There were 62 players in camp, including the draft picks, undrafted free agents and players invited for tryouts. Former Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall is with the team on a tryout at wide receiver.

"You like his makeup," Quinn said. "When you have a sense that you're going for it and you have something to prove, you get the best stuff."

Running back Marcus Green, a sixth-round pick from Louisiana-Monroe, has a strained hamstring and watched from the sideline. Quinn said he wants to make sure Green is ready for the team's offseason program.

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