Lynden Trail Interview and Player Breakdown: The most interesting man in the draft
Ht: 6’7″ 269 lbs
Broad Jump: 117″
40 Yard Dash: 4.77
Strengths: Has the ideal NFL frame to play the lengthy DE in a 4-3, but athletic enough to play 3-4 OLB. Played mostly as an OLB in college, but showed he is comfortable to play with his hand in the dirt. Very fluid for his size and plays well when asked to drop into zone coverage. Good chase down speed to make tackles from behind the play, knows his radius well. Good first step, and has greatly improved over his time at Norfolk State with technique. Uses his size well to gain leverage on the edge and gets his hands up when he doesn’t get to the QB to get in the passing lanes. Very versatile player that can play three positions (TE, OLB, & DE) and has huge upside with the proper situation and coaching. His Combine metrics show his good lower/upper body strength and change of direction capabilities.
Weaknesses: Needs to continue to work on his hips and ability to drop into coverage. Tip toes around plays at times and doesn’t provide as many splash plays as you would like for his size and doesn’t go for the “kill shot,” but still a solid tackler. Stays engaged in blocks too long and is still very raw with his moves as a DE. Doesn’t have a extreme motor, so will need the right coach to get it out of him. Instincts and diagnoses could be better, can get lost in no mans land.
Final Thoughts: This is one of the drafts biggest wild cards that will likely end up as a big steal for someone in the later rounds. I think with the proper coaching Lynden can really be an effective starter in the NFL and have a long career, athletes just come in his size often. I have come to know Lynden fairly well and I really feel like his heart is in football and he wants to be great. He is never going to be the guy that looks sculpted but that doesn’t really have anything to do with playing football. I see a team taking a gamble on him in the 4th round range. I think teams that he would be a great fit for as a hybrid SLB/DE are Miami, Minnesota, Cincinnati, New England, Chicago, and Tampa Bay. He has played Offense and defense and has shown to be a quick learner, which is very important to his NFL career. He showed that he can play with top level talent at the senior bowl, but teams are still going to be drafting him a lot on his potential not on the tape they have from him.
You started off at Florida and then transferred out after your first year, I know that decision was probably tough for you I saw some things that you consult with your family and then made that decision. I guess what I’d want to ask about is what did you learn most from that decision or situation and how did it affect you going forward?
Well, the first thing I learned from that situation was not everything is going to go the way that I wanted it like an have to understand that I can’t doubt myself I have to believe in myself, which my confidence level is basically through the roof at this point and time. I had understand that God does everything for a reason because during my transfer process I kind of lost side of football because I started to doubt myself and question if I was good enough to play at the next level, but eventually I landed at Norfolk State they gave me opportunity to showcase my abilities and it’s just a blessing that I was able to able to show that
You’ve played it a couple different positions you’ve played at a couple of different positions, kind it with your hand in the dirt a little bit also as a linebacker in a 3-4 system on the outside. Judging by the size that you came into the combine your kind of more fitting as a defensive lineman with that size, where do you think you fit the best, (I know you can play all the positions) by where you most comfortable and what are some traits you have at each position that would be something you would like to showcase on the next level?
Let’s start with the linebacker position, I think it’s rare to see a 6’7″ linebacker if anybody can point out another linebacker to me a 6’7″ I will lay down for them, but at the linebacker position the biggest thing is I’m a bigger linebacker similar as a SAM backer and probably say with Cincinnati scheme I would probably be a SAM backer or something of that sort. A bigger, stronger guy that plays with the (1 tech/run threat) to his side, so there’s always nine times out of ten a collision between me in the guard if there’s ever a run my way or anything of that sort. Then I transfer over to defensive end the best thing about me playing that position my upside to that position is my pass rushing ability and just using my length and the more I train the more start I understand my body and how to use it to my advantage. Last but not least, tight end: I feel like there is a lot of mismatches there, I’m too fast for most linebackers, I’m too big for most corners or safeties, so there are advantages at almost every position that I play. There is not one position that I feel more comfortable with, at the end of the day I just feel like I’m a football player, so wherever you put me is where I’m going to focus in and try to master that position.
I would assume that since you’ve bounced around and played multiple positions you would consider yourself pretty much a quick learner, is that something that’s fair to say?
Yes, and I say that and I agree with that because at the combine a lot of people had me draw up charts and due to the fact that I played in a 40 scheme, which is kind of like a multiple defense, where we can go from a 3-4 at any given time to a 4-3 it kind of gave me an advantage to know a lot of schemes, or whatever they threw at me I was easily able to just write it up on the board and turnaround on the offensive side and the terminology they were using over there they were kind of surprised that I knew what arc release was, a spot route, or a hitch and go and things of that sort, flag, post corner, and all of that just to throw that in there as well.
You played some wide receiver in high school, if I’m correct, the things you learned from playing receiver/tight end how does that help you on the defensive side?
Yes, and well, there came times as a linebacker where I had to guard a lot of tight ends man-to-man and/or try to take them out of the game as a whole if they were threat. Just being able to play on the other side of the ball I knew what to expect and I basically knew how to walk people into their routes as opposed to guessing what they are going to do because being on the other side of the ball as a tight end you can look for keys and things of that sort to take advantage of. When I linebacker I look for little things that they do like leaning and hinting and knowing that I apply that pressure nine times out of ten there can push-off go the opposite way.
Results from the combine in my opinion for you were very good and well received, and I just wanted to see what it you think about your combine the experience in general, I’ve heard it’s mixed for people for a lot of people it’s eye-opening for other people the kind of expect with a got. As far as your results, or those right about where you are training did you do a little bit better or little bit worse?
I was pretty happy with my results on everything except my 40 yard dash. In which, I recently just that my Pro day I went back and I knew I was quicker than 4.91, so I decided to rerun my 40 time everything else I opted out of because I thought it was great. I mean, I had 25 rep on the bench press was beautiful in my mind, considering the fact I had the second longest arms for all defensive lineman at the combine. On top of that, at my Pro day I ran a 4.77 on my 40 yard dash. In which, I would like to add, felt like a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on my 40 yard dash, but whether people know it or not game speed and 40 yard dash speed are two different things and that’s all that matters.
Yep and I would completely agree, you beat me to my next question, I was get a say from your combine to your Pro day where was the area that you improve the most with knowing what you got on your 40 yard dash but you beat me to it and I appreciate that.
I went back to Dallas I was training down MJT and I pre-much continuously worked on my start. I mean, it was a more so because I have top and skied once I get up and going I’m on with that am running. I mean, it’s just hard to get to 70 role in downhill, so considering the fact that I’m 6’7″, it’s whatever. If I was probably 6’3″ or 6’2″ it would probably be a lot easier, it’s probably less steps for me to take because our really long stride, so that cycle is like forever almost to get my step back over.
Your three cone was really good which a lot of people use as a change of direction metric. When I study guys I look at film, but I also look at three cone in 20 yard shuttle and yours were both very good in my opinion, one of the things that some people say when referencing you is just wrongness and needing to work on a few things as a defensive end since you haven’t played that a lot. Your change of direction should be pretty good, how do you feel like you fit as far as your been and turning of the corner is that something that you worked on in the off-season, it seems like your change of direction is much better than people maybe anticipated.
Yes, Kevin Smith who was the quarterback who played on the opposite side is Dion back the 90s. He is pretty much my footwork I that’s who I go to work with every Tuesday and Thursday and we do some really intense drills that he’s taught me how to drop my hips open up my hips and he’s taught me more so body control as well.
That probably helps you with dropping in the coverage control your hips and footwork I’m assuming that’s what he’s working with you as well?
Considering the fact that sometimes a lot of people want me to play zone, well my coaches want to be to play a lot of zone in college, so some but I really focused on was my footwork and just dropping because in my mind I was like have to be able to get where I need to go and that the more false steps I eliminate the more fluid it will look in the better it will be.
So let’s talk nonfootball, I’ve heard that back in the day you were the king of planking. Did you start the planking movement? And what was the number one planking position that you ever did?
I started the planking movement in Gainesville. It was crazy at first I thought I would do something I didn’t think you would really take off like that I decided was funny. I just thought it was something I could share with Florida fans and in the making whole article about it. I’d have to say that the best planking I did would probably have to be on the statue of Albert and Alberta the gator.
Are you kind of the jokester, or how is the Linden that people don’t get to meet. Everyone can see you, but tell us about you.
I’m a pretty laid back guy, it’s kind of boring (laughter) I’m not going to lie, but I do love to laugh a lot. I spend the majority of my time either watch in film, playing call of duty, or spending time with my family.
The Senior bowl was probably good experience for you in getting back to show the level of competition you can compete with is at a really high level, compared with maybe a little lesser level there at Norfolk State. How did you feel about your senior bowl and what’s the biggest experience that you got out of that, was at the other players, the coaches, just run me through that?
My overall experience I felt great about it. I felt like I went out there proved what I had to prove. The whole week was just preaching versatility, which I want to be will to see that, hey yes he does play three positions, and yes he is good at all three positions. I try to make it public for any GM or owner that was considering drafting me, as to which position they would actually want to draft me at. I was trying to prove to people that there is no such thing as a small school guy. The whole week I kept hearing from the NFL network “oh small school guy Lyndon Trail does this, or does that” but my thing is we play football. At the end of the day football is football. Just how everyone at a major D1 puts on their pads and their helmets and goes up has to play football, I do the same thing. The biggest difference is money, in my mind, they just have the financial needs taking care of and, I mean, we just have to rush and hustle for ours. It kind of felt like practice, I mean like I tell most people at linebacker to stand up in 707 for the part of the introduction, go down and pass rush against the tackles, and then turn around go through the red zone with the tide ends. Of which I cut a touchdown, as well as tide end. All I did is what I did at practice at Norfolk State.
I think part of it is that ESPN and the “talking heads” there like to hype up a small school guy just so they can make that a story, but nowadays the level of competition at those schools compared to the bigger schools is much smaller than it used to be. Obviously, coming out of high school being a highly touted recruit to University of Florida, the intangibles that you showed in high school were there and no question my mind that you could have competed on the Division I level had you stayed there and intended to, but I think sometimes I think it’s good to just have that and the Senior bowl is probably great for you do like you said showcase your versatility and let teams know there really is no difference and football’s football.
At your Pro day there is a lot of teams rumored to be talking to you, if you had a gauge interest in certain teams are there any teams that tipped you off a little bit more than others that they might be interested in reaching out to your further?
At this point in time I probably like to leave that disclosed I wouldn’t want to say anything to push the money away, or rub anybody the wrong way. It’s just a blessing that people showed up at my Pro day so that I could showcase my versatility.
Did any teams try to work you out inside linebacker and at your Pro day did any teams try to work you out it tight end?
Yes, not inside linebacker, but I did run routes as a tight end. Teams seem to think that I look pretty smooth and a lot of people didn’t actually know that I played that in, which is where but it is what it is.
Would you say the majority of the teams were looking at you at linebacker or defensive end, was it 50-50. What would you say about that?
A lot of people were looking at me as a linebacker.
Is there anywhere you’re going to be training now are you going to be training at Norfolk State?
Yeah, I’m pretty much back home. I am up at 5 o’clock in the morning they have a 6 AM group, but they leave a rack open for me, so I pretty much go ahead keep up with my Dallas training there. We have a maintain lists, so I pretty much as keep up that in the time usually get hit the stadium stairs for the running portion.
For draft day deal have a plan for that? We get a be with family?
I’m pretty much will just be with my family, surrounded by loved ones. Hopefully, not cooped up in the house waiting for my name to be called. My girl promotional me she probably find some for me to do and should keep me busy from April 30 through May 2.