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Instant analysis of the Chargers’ selection of Notre Dame OT Joe Alt at No. 5 overall

Turns out that last-minute scramble over the JC Latham tea leaves was all for naught.

Los Angeles stuck with their guns on Thursday, making Notre Dame’s Joe Alt the first tackle off the board after months of speculation that they’d select him with their first round selection. Alt will flip to the right side for the Chargers, a move he’s been preparing to make in the lead-up to the draft, likely for this very scenario.

An NFL legacy – his father John played 13 seasons for the Chiefs in the 80s and 90s – Alt’s athleticism as a former quarterback and tight end will be the calling cards for easing his transition to the right side. He said at the NFL Combine that his experience at tight end especially should help him, considering he has some familiarity with putting his hand in the dirt from that side of the formation.

An agile, finesse tackle with high-end recovery ability, Alt generates push in the run game in a different way than what was perhaps expected from a Jim Harbaugh and Joe Hortiz draft selection. But his smoothness as a pass protector will quickly plaster over any potential concerns that he’s not a true mauler in the run game. Notre Dame ran a balanced offense while Alt was there, and he was a key reason why running back Audric Estime had such a productive season in 2023.

This pick likely forces Trey Pipkins, set to count $8.75 million against the salary cap, to the bench. Pipkins’ contract does not allow for cap savings in a trade until after June 1. Despite having two seasons left on his deal, the Chargers could also easily escape the contract following the 2024 season, saving $6.75 million against the 2025 cap if they were to release Pipkins.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire