If the Bears decide to upgrade at left tackle, would Notre Dame’s Alt be available?

While Caleb Williams to the Bears at No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft feels like a formality at this point, what the Bears do with their second draft pick at No. 9 overall is up in the air. It will depend heavily on what the teams ahead of them in the draft do.

With the No. 9 draft pick the Bears could look to fill needs at receiver, edge rusher or offensive tackle. Those are three premium position where the Bears still need to improve. They could also look to move up or down the draft board through trades.

It’s time to take a look at a number of potential prospects who could fit the Bears’ needs at No. 9. Here’s what Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt brings to the table and how he might fit in Chicago.

Position breakdown

The Bears just drafted a tackle with their first-round pick a year ago. They selected Darnell Wright from Tennessee and slotted him into the starting lineup at right tackle. At left tackle, 2022 fifth-round draft pick Braxton Jones played his second season as the starter. Jones was a bit of a revelation in 2022, starting all 17 games despite being a fifth-round pick from Southern Utah, an FCS school. Last season Jones started 11 games and missed six with a neck injury.

The Bears are obviously quite high on Wright, who was an All-Rookie performer last season. GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus are also high on Jones, but Poles noted in January that that doesn’t mean they couldn’t add competition.

“I do believe he’s a starting left tackle, but if it comes down to a situation to increase competition and that’s what’s best for us, then we’ll do that,” Poles said of Jones on Jan. 10.

So offensive tackle might not be the biggest area of need, but it is an area that Poles could upgrade if the right prospect fell to the Bears at No. 9.

What Alt brings to the table

At 6-foot-9, 321 pounds, Alt is a massive human being. He became a regular starter for Notre Dame as a true freshman, starting the final eight games of the season at left tackle. The Minnesota native played quarterback as a youth football player but just kept on growing. As a 6-foot-7, 283-pound high school senior, he was considered a four-star recruit, but he just kept getting bigger even after he went to college. His father, John Alt, was a first-round draft pick out of Iowa in 1984 and was a two-time Pro Bowl tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Joe Alt wound up starting 33 games at Notre Dame, all of them at left tackle. He has the size and arm length (34¼ inches) to succeed as an offensive tackle in the NFL. He was a team captain at Notre Dame and a two-time first-team All-American.

Alt appears to be good enough to play at a high level as a rookie. His height sometimes gives him a high center of gravity, which could make him susceptible to power rushers. But he moves well for his size, likely thanks to playing multiple positions and multiple sports growing up. Any NFL team would be happy to draft this guy.

Will Alt be available at No. 9?

Unlikely. It’s not entirely impossible, but it seems unlikely that no team inside the top eight would take him.

At No. 5 overall, the Chargers could be a candidate to go for an offensive tackle. With a new general manager and coach, they might not necessarily be locked in on finding a receiver for quarterback Justin Herbert. The Chargers have a lot more issues to fix than just the wide receiver position.

Then at No. 7, the Titans are badly in need of a starting tackle. After adding receiver Calvin Ridley in free agency, tackle is the clear hole on their roster. Alt to the Titans at No. 7 seems like a slam dunk. But if the Titans were to trade back, that might change everything.

It’s possible Alt is there at No. 9, but some things would have to go the Bears’ way.

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