Fighting Irish Forecast: Joe Alt

Joe Alt is not only one of the top offensive line prospects in this year's draft, but he is also one of the most pro-ready linemen to enter the league in some time. In fact, he might be the most polished big man to enter the league since a fellow Fighting Irish standout, Quenton Nelson, was selected with the sixth overall pick in 2018. 

Notre Dame has a reputation for being one of college football's top powerhouses at producing quality offensive linemen, and Alt looks destined to become the next in line to make a name for himself in the NFL.

Not only has Nelson vastly outperformed the sky-high expectations that many had for him, but so too have fellow former Irish standouts Ronnie Stanley and Zach Martin, who have both maintained their status as premier players at their respective positions (tackle and guard) since entering the league.

The 21-year-old Alt comes from a football family. His father John enjoyed a 13-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs after being selected in the first round of the 1984 NFL Draft. He was eventually enshrined in the team's Hall of Fame, and Joe hopes to provide a similar impact to whatever team is lucky enough to land him. 

Recruited out of Minneapolis as a four-star recruit in 2021, Alt was hardly an unknown commodity as the nation's 20th-ranked offensive tackle in his recruiting class. However, he wasted little time proving his position in those rankings was far too low, as he more than held his own in eight starts at left tackle as a true freshman.

That was only the start of his collegiate dominance, though, as he didn't allow a single sack the following year, cementing his status as one of the nation's top linemen with a First-Team All-American campaign in 2022. He followed up the impressive performance with a Unanimous All-American selection this season.

He was also a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy (awarded to the nation's best interior offensive/defensive lineman) and a finalist for the Lombardi Award (given to the nation's best overall offensive/defensive lineman).

On the field, Alt is nearly as flawless of an offensive line prospect as they come. The 6'9", 321-pound behemoth is just as capable of stonewalling opposing linemen in pass protection as he is at powering through them in the ground game. As a former tight end, he also possesses elite athleticism for someone with his size.

He is technically sound and does a great job locking up opposing defenders with elite hand usage. If there is any issue with his game, it's that he occasionally plays with poor leverage (partially due to his towering frame). However, this is often not a glaring issue, as his other strengths often allow him to recover quickly when the issue causes him to lose ground.

He should also greatly improve this under the tutelage of an NFL coaching staff.

While every spot along the offensive line has become incredibly valuable in today's NFL (a fact that is reflected in the recent contracts signed by the big men this offseason), there will always be an added emphasis on stability at the left tackle position considering the importance of protecting the quarterback's blindside. 

Alt is sure to be selected in the Top 10 picks of next week's draft, and he has the potential to become the first non-QB selected on draft night.

He compares favorably to all other linemen in the class and is as clean of a prospect as they come both on and off the field.

Plug-and-play Pro Bowlers are hard to find, especially at the left tackle position. However, Alt potentially fits that billing as one of this year's truly elite prospects. Whichever team lands the wall of a man will surely be happy they did.

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