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Jim Harbaugh defends decision to take tackle Joe Alt

The draft is about selling hope and introducing a new wave of players to the NFL. Given the influence of the fantasy football/prop bet crowd, it's not a place for getting people excited about the selection of blockers.

After the Chargers made tackle Joe Alt the fifth overall pick in the 2024 draft, L.A. coach Jim Harbaugh defended the move.

"I know the question is going to come up, 'What about a weapon?'" Harbaugh told reporters. "Offensive linemen, we look at as weapons. That group, when we talk about attacking on offense, the offensive line is the tip of the spear."

That applies to both pushing the pile and performing like a shield.

"It's not just the running game with the offensive line," Harbaugh said. "They protect and that's why they get paid so much money . . . because the quarterback has got to be able to finish his throwing motion. . . . That comes from Bill Walsh. I'm stealing that one, I didn't invent that one."

Harbaugh claimed it was a "unanimous decision" to talk Alt with the fifth pick. Whether it was unanimous to use the pick or trade it is a different issue.

We've heard some chatter about the Chargers having a chance to trade out of that spot. They passed on the opportuniy, even if some in the room might have preferred to take it. I'm still putting in the elbow grease to figure out what happened with that one.

For now, the Chargers get a guy they didn't even bring in for a visit, because they didn't think they needed to. Moving forward, they need to figure out where he's going to play.

"Count on us playing our best five offensive linemen," Harbaugh said. "What position each guy plays within the offense and within the offensive line is to be determined. . . . Competitors, welcome. Any country in the world, any state, any team . . . competitors, welcome."

Alt is welcome, too. Primarily because the Chargers called dibs on a guy who has no real choice but to go wherever he's drafted.