2024 Chicago Bears Draft Target: Joe Alt
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

2024 Chicago Bears Draft Target: Joe Alt

by - Senior Writer -

You can have the best QB in the NFL. You can have some of the best-skill players at the WR or the RB positions, but none of that matters unless you have the offensive line up front to protect them. As talented as Justin Fields is, and as talented as Caleb Williams is expected to be, none of that will matter if the offensive line doesn't do its job.

Fields struggled during his time in Chicago, as the inconsistent protection forced him to play more recklessly than even he would've liked, which resulted in some of the subpar numbers you have seen. With Williams expected to come to Chicago with the No.1 overall selection, the Bears need to make sure they can protect him; otherwise, all his talent and skill will go to waste.

Over the past several seasons, the Bears have been doing their best to make their offensive line to become a top-10 unit. That shouldn't surprise you with Ryan Poles running the show, as he was a former offensive lineman. He knows the importance of having a solid lineup and has done an excellent job of, at the very least, adding a few young pieces to build around.

Whether that be last year's first-rounder Darnell Wright or the other young guns Tevan Jenkins and Braxton Jones, the Bears have a young core in place that could be just one piece away from being one of the youngest and potentially one of the better offensive lines in football. That is the direction this team could choose to go with the No. 9 pick, and if Joe Alt is still around when that selection comes around, expect the Bears to draft him.

Regarded as one of the top, if not the top, offensive linemen in this year's class, the former Notre Dame Tackle has a towering frame. His traits translate exceptionally well into a legitimate OT in this league for years to come. For a team expected to run multiple TE sets, Alt would be extremely valuable for Shane Waldron and his system, and this seems like a no-brainer selection should he be available.

At 6-9 and 321 pounds, size is certainly not an issue for Alt, as he is an extremely intimidating figure. He towers over defensive linemen, and his overall size and strength make him difficult to push off the line. A two-time All-American and team captain for Notre Dame, Alt is coming off a decorated 2023 season that saw him earn his second All-American honor and become a Lombardi Award finalist and Outland Trophy finalist.

Not only does he have height and size, but his 34-inch arms make him ideal for the T position, as he is the legitimate size for an OT. He uses his size to create tremendous leverage, which helps him have great balance and technique in both run and blocking plays. Despite his overall size, Alt was previously a TE, so he is much more athletic than most OTs in this year's class, which could result in being a matchup nightmare across the board.

Although he is extremely athletic for his size, he struggles against some of the game's best speed rushers, as his lateral quickness needs some work. Alt has continued to improve each season, but he does need to gain a little bit more strength as physical pass rushers have given him the most problems at the college level.

Those two weaknesses are things he can work on in camp, but there is one weakness he doesn't have control over, which happens to be his height. Anytime you are as tall as Alt is, there tends to be some leverage issues and he has had a problem playing at a consistent pad level because of it. That is the least of the worries for any team interested in him, as they have seen his body of work and what he can do.

With Alt and Olu Fashanu as potential first-round LT options, it is unclear whether Jones is the answer at LT, especially with a new QB coming into town. If the Bears want to protect their investment at QB, then Alt is a no-brainer should he be there at No. 9. This is a guy who would be an NFL starter from day one, which isn't always the case for a lot of players.

Alt has drawn comparisons to Duane Brown, who Waldron worked with in Seattle. This is the cornerstone offensive lineman the Bears have been missing, and if he can become a multi-year all-pro player, the Bears would've hit a home run with him.

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