Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, projected top-10 pick, declares for NFL Draft: How strong is his evaluation?

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 Joe Alt #76 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pass protects against the Stanford Cardinal during the second quarter of an NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The NFL’s potential next cornerstone offensive tackle declared for the draft Wednesday, as Notre Dame’s Joe Alt announced he will opt out of the Sun Bowl and forgo his senior season to play at the next level.

Alt was the No. 6 overall prospect on The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s NFL Draft big board in November and was projected to go No. 4 in Brugler’s most recent mock draft.

☘️☘️☘️ pic.twitter.com/r5GXsxLQWv

— Joe Alt (@JoeAlt7) December 13, 2023

The 20-year-old started the last 33 games of his college career and only allowed four sacks over that stretch, per Pro Football Focus.

He was named first-team All-American in 2022 and 2023, joining Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. as the only players in the nation to accomplish the back-to-back feat this year.

Alt is the son of Jon Alt, who was a Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick in 1984.

How strong is Alt’s draft evaluation?

A clean evaluation, Alt is the most well-rounded offensive lineman in the 2024 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-8 and 325 pounds, he is above average as both a pass protector and run blocker and continues to get better and better. The best NFL offensive linemen are able to reset and quickly get back to the strengths of their body, and that’s the most impressive part of Alt’s young skill set. He has the rare ability to recover and get back to his power without sacrificing his balance.

The son of a former Pro Bowl left tackle, Alt is still only 20 years old and has an All-American resume with 33 straight starts at left tackle to finish his college career. I liked what I saw from him over the summer, but he went to another level as a junior for the Irish this past season and put himself in the conversation to be a top-five pick. The battle between Alt and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu for OT1 status will be an interesting race that will likely be split among NFL teams. — Dane Brugler, NFL Draft writer

Where does Alt fit in Notre Dame’s run of offensive linemen?

Alt is a departure from Notre Dame’s past decade of NFL offensive line development, moving through South Bend in just three seasons under three different offensive line coaches. Mike McGlinchey, who went No. 9, stayed five seasons. Ronnie Stanley and Quenton Nelson, both top-10 picks, stayed four years. Even going back further to Zack Martin, who went later in the first round, Notre Dame got five seasons from the future NFL Hall of Fame guard.

On top of that, Alt didn’t even play left tackle exclusively for this three seasons at Notre Dame, working as a part-time tight end as a freshman while the offensive line struggle to reconfigure itself. But when Alt moved to left tackle full-time as a sophomore under Harry Hiestand, he blossomed. Hiestand, who developed or recruited every offensive lineman of significance at Notre Dame in the previous decade, helped the sophomore become an All-American by the end of that season.

Alt was elected a captain as a junior, then backed up his All-American status for a second time. Even on an offensive line that struggled at times to protect quarterback Sam Hartman, the left tackle was omnipresent in keeping the quarterback’s blind side clear.

Alt will be a massive loss for Notre Dame next season, although few programs recruit or develop the offensive line position better. The Irish will also lose right tackle Blake Fisher, who’s also opted out of the Sun Bowl to declare for the NFL Draft. — Pete Sampson, Notre Dame beat writer

Required reading

  • College football All-America teams 2023: Texas, Georgia, Notre Dame lead with 3 picks each
  • 2024 NFL Draft: Most intriguing prospects from Notre Dame plus the ACC

(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

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