Breaking down where Notre Dame OT Joe Alt can improve his game in the 2023 college season as a 2024 NFL draft prospect
Joe Alt enters the 2023 college season as one of the favorites to be the first offensive lineman selected in the 2024 NFL draft. The Notre Dame left tackle has shown impressive quickness, great length, solid technical mastery and upside to grow even more.
Alt still has a couple of areas where he can improve upon his game to make himself an even more appealing prospect in the upcoming season. After watching five Notre Dame games from 2022 (Ohio State, North Carolina, USC, Stanford, Clemson), here are two facets where Alt can improve.
Alt is a very impressive athlete for being 6-foot-8, and he moves quite well for a taller OT. He does have some struggles in creating movement in the run game when tasked with heads-up blocking or working solo on a stouter defender.
Part of the issue is out of his control; he’s too long to generate a lot of force against defenders who have a natural leverage advantage against him and understand how to use it. Taller NFL vets like Taylor Decker and Mike McGlinchey have had to overcome similar issues coming out of college as top-20 overall picks. Alt generally bends well but doesn’t always do so when having to reach at extension for the initial block.
Some of Alt’s struggles in this area are a propensity to stop driving his feet while engaged. He often tries to create movement with more shoulder torque and initial pop from his long (and impressive) punch. But after that initial horn-locking, Alt doesn’t always churn the feet or engage his lower body to drive and attack. It’s reminiscent of another first-round OT from the past, Jack Conklin. When Conklin remembered to keep the feet active, he was very good for both the Titans and Browns. When he didn’t, he had some real struggles against the superior power of the EDGE defenders in the NFL.
Inside shoulder in pass protection
Alt did not allow a single sack in the games I watched. In fact, Notre Dame had him credited with a clean sack slate all season. But he does show some vulnerability with his inside (right) shoulder when facing stand-up rushers who can avoid the initial punch.
This is related to the aforementioned length. There is a point of diminishing returns for length at tackle, and Alt approaches it. When he fires out those long arms, it naturally takes him a tick longer to reset and readjust to the defender than it does for a guy who is “just” 6-foot-6. Alt showed a tendency to exacerbate this by leaning out over his toes instead of sliding his inside foot forward when outside rushers tried to cross his face or spin inside.
Bowers is a very skilled receiver but has a few area where he can improve for Georgia as a 2024 NFL draft prospect
Up next in the Room to Improve series for the 2024 NFL draft prospects is the reigning Mackey Award winner as the nation’s top tight end, Brock Bowers of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Bowers has quickly proven himself as an outstanding receiving threat in his first two seasons in Athens. What can he do to help augment his potential NFL draft stock in the upcoming college season?
I use this series to preemptively nitpick prospects and see where I want prospects to improve in the upcoming college season. It’s a series I did back in the day as part of the Draft Breakdown (RIP) team, and I’m reviving it here as the Room to Improve series for the 2024 NFL draft.
For Bowers, I watched Georgia’s games against Oregon, Samford, Kent State, Auburn, LSU and Ohio State from the 2022 national championship season.
Diabate will bring an interesting skill set to training camp.
Some were shocked when the Cleveland Browns decided not to draft a linebacker in the 2023 NFL draft when they don’t have a long-term answer at middle linebacker. However, they did add an intriguing player post-draft signing the undrafted linebacker from Utah Mohamoud Diabate.
Diabate is a guy that places with physicality and has great range moving from sideline to sideline and in coverage. He showcased his speed and athleticism during the testing process receiving a 9.11 Relative Athletic Score.
Thought he needs to clean up some things when in zone coverage he has the speed and athleticism in man coverage to be pretty effective and it shows up on his tape. When he is playing downhill in the run game that is where he is the best showcasing his speed and physicality.
It will be hard for Diabate to make the roster but his skill set would be perfect for special teams. If he can show he can be an effective special teams player he could make the practice squad or 53-man roster as a developmental player that could give quality snaps down the road.
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Could the Kansas pass rusher find his way onto the 53-man roster?
After going undrafted in the 2023 NFL draft out of Kansas, pass rusher Lonnie Phelps signed a $250,000 guaranteed contract with the Cleveland Browns. The team believes that Phelps has some talent and the ability to compete for a roster spot giving out a contract of that size.
Phelps is a good athlete with a great speed rush, quick feet, and the ability to shoot the gap as a pass rusher. He registered an 8.45 relative athletic score during the predraft testing process with an impressive 4.55 40-yard dash at 244 pounds.
When he wins in the pass rush it’s a combination of his speed and leverage to go with a great motor that results in effort sacks and pressures. However, he does play high and lacks the elite play strength at the point of attack, especially in run defense.
If the Browns and Jim Schwartz can work on his hand usage and he can add some strength he could turn into a good rotational player in the NFL.
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Washington is a supremely athletic prospect but also a project who needs a lot of development
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As unique of a physical build for the position as they come, Georgia tight end Darnell Washington will look to prove to scouts he can transition as a receiving threat at the next level as he enters the 2023 NFL draft.
Here is everything you need to know about the Bulldogs’ big playmaker:
Johnson could be the first offensive lineman drafted in 2023
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The blindside protector for CJ Stroud, Ohio State’s top tackle is hoping to be as stable as he was for his first round quarterback and find himself in the first round as well as he enters the 2023 NFL draft.
Here is everything you need to know about the Buckeyes tackle:
Richardson is a supremely gifted athlete coming off just one year of starting experience
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One of the most intriguing players in the entire draft and one with also potentially the highest ceiling we have seen our of a quarterback since Cam Newton, it will be interesting if teams take a chance on the ultra talented quarterback during the 2023 draft.
Here is everything you need to know about the Florida superstar:
Scouting report for Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid for the 2023 NFL draft
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A former college walk on, Dalton Kincaid has blossomed into one of the most dynamic tight ends in this upcoming class and will look to go from walk on to first round pick as he enters the 2023 NFL draft.
Here is everything you need to know about the Utes dynamo:
McKee has a big arm, but how does that translate to the next level?
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A Stanford quarterback with mixed and limited production during his time in the offense, but Tanner McKee has enough physical tools to keep teams interested and he could boost his stock in the pre-draft process as he looks to enter the 2023 NFL draft.
Here is everything you need to know about the Cardinal QB:
Addison projects to be one of the first WRs selected in the 2023 NFL draft
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One of the most productive wide receivers in college over the last two years, USC’s Jordan Addison will look to carry over his transfer success to the NFL as he enters the 2023 NFL draft.
Here is everything you need to know about the Trojans big-play man: