Jim Harbaugh sticks to guns with selection of Joe Alt: ‘Offensive linemen, we look at as weapons’

The Chargers drafted offensive tackle Joe Alt at No. 5 in the 2024 NFL draft.

While not a luxurious pick, it meshed with Jim Harbaugh’s desire to inject the team with a physical, rugged, and imposing brand of football through the trenches.

“Offensive linemen we look at as weapons,” Harbaugh said. “When we talk about attacking on offense… Offensive line is the tip of the spear.”

Alt played left tackle throughout his collegiate career, where Rashawn Slater has played and earned All-Pro status in 2021. Despite the addition of Alt, Slater will remain the team’s blindside blocker.

Harbaugh and Joe Hortiz did not directly say where Alt would play but did say that he would be a tackle, which could indicate that he will be the starting right tackle.

If Alt is the starting right tackle, he would overtake Trey Pipkins. Harbaugh was non-committal about Pipkins’ job status, calling him “one of our best five right now.”

“Don’t rule anything out, who’s going to play where. We’re going to play the best five that we have on the team.”

Despite being only 21 years old, Alt plays like a veteran. He is a polished and physical lineman who possesses great size/length, overall technique, and strength.

“You’re talking about a guy who’s still growing and maturing,” Hortiz said. “The upside with him is tremendous.”

Alt’s services will benefit Justin Herbert, who has been one of the most pressured quarterbacks since entering the league in 2020. He will also improve the ground game, which hasn’t been efficient for over a decade.

“He drives off the line of scrimmage,” Hortiz said about his run-blocking skills. “You watch him move players over three gaps on his down blocks. He’s very athletic. Excellent range. High-level competitor.”

Even after the addition of Alt, look for the work not to stop there.

“We’re not done with the offensive line either,” Hortiz added.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire