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Potential Atlanta Falcons 2024 Draft Pick: OT Joe Alt

Joe Alt is arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft and is easily a top 10 talent in this year’s draft. The Atlanta Falcons could make a surprise move and take the tackle at No. 8 overall and still be a perfect fit for their selection in the draft. Alt profiles better as a true left tackle than anything in the NFL and probably shouldn’t be flipped to the other side of the formation. Teams will love his leadership and abilities and will want to bring him on board as their franchise guy.

Athletically, Joe Alt profiles as a longer-armed Robert Gallery. Absolutely prototypical for the position, Alt has the ideal speed, agility and explosion for a franchise left tackle. Gallery had a terrible career because he wasn’t blessed with the long arms that Alt has and simply didn’t have the non-physical attributes that Alt also possesses. Gallery is also the rare occurrence of an Iowa tackle failing in the NFL. So it was a bit shocking to see him fail. He shouldn’t have failed.

2023: Started 12 games at left tackle, 91.2 PFF Pass Block Grade, 86.5 PFF Run Block Grade, First Team All-American, Lombardi Award Finalist, Outland Trophy Finalist, Joe Moore Award Semifinalist
2022: 13 Games Started at left tackle, 81.7 PFF Pass Block Grade, 91.0 PFF Run Block Grade, First-team All-American
2021: Started 8 games at left tackle, Played 11 games at left tackle, 76.0 PFF Pass Block Grade, 76.3 PFF Run Block Grade, Freshman all-American

Strengths

Joe Alt plays with fantastic balance, keeping his body in front of defenders with exceptional footwork. In pass protection, he can hit around defenders with a powerful punch and draw them away from the quarterback. His technique is extremely good in both pass and run blocking. He can anchor well against the pass rush and uses his long arms to stretch defenders away from his body. He is very football intelligent and knows counters for the counters that get him hit by the opponent’s pass rush plans.

Weak points

There are times when Alt is off balance and struggles to maintain a low center of gravity. He must maintain his proper technique consistently when playing in the NFL. He has mistakes throughout the game where he lets his technique slip, especially toward the end of long drives. Teams will have to help him learn to counter during longer pass rushes. When blocking runs, he has a tendency to get too far over his feet and defenders will throw him, and that will have to be resolved at the next level.

As the son of a two-time Pro Bowl player and brother of NHL defenseman Mark Alt, Joe Alt has a lot of family history that helps him understand the game. His father had him play quarterback and tight end when he was growing up to better understand it. Alt cross-trained with hockey during his youth, so he understands his balance while playing football much better. He is a team captain for the Fighting Irish and someone you can expect to lead an offensive line.

Joe Alt comes in with high-level technical skill and athleticism, just like Jake Matthews did coming out of Texas A&M. Alt will be a franchise left at the next level, but he doesn’t have the projectable versatility that Matthews had. Alt and Matthews both came from great programs and families with some lineage, but more than that, their film is almost identical in the way they win in the scrimmage. They both also fit best in zone schemes.

If the Atlanta Falcons select Alt at No. 8 overall, it says more about how they view Jake Matthews long-term. Matthews is nearing the end of his career and picking Alt would suggest they want a replacement for Matthews before the end of his contract. Alt fits well into the Falcons zone scheme that offensive line coach and run game coordinator has been running since 2021. Alt would be the perfect like-for-like replacement for Matthews, but with more natural talent.

All advanced stats come from Pro Football Focus or Football Outsiders. All traditional statistics are taken from official team websites, NFLGSIS or CFB statistics. All RAS and athletic testing numbers are sourced from DraftScout.com and Kent Lee Platte’s RAS Football website.