Patriots 7-Round Mock Draft: Impressive Combine showings make selections easier

Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt (OL02) during the 2024 NFL
Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt (OL02) during the 2024 NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL combine provides an excellent opportunity for players to injure themselves while doing something they would never do on a football field, like running 40 yards in a dead straight line. But more than that, it provides scouts and coaches with raw data to compare.

It’s incredibly arbitrary data, and how it’s analyzed is incredibly subjective. But it’s an annual tradition, and we all know change is bad, even if it could lead to progress and save some brutal, unnecessary injuries. 

But as James Howell wrote in 1659, “There’s no use crying over spilled milk.”

For those scouts and coaches who can’t identify talent when it’s staring them full in the face, the combine provides some useful crib notes about who they should draft. And if the Patriots are using the combine as their cheat sheet (and let’s all pray they aren’t), here’s who they should be drafting. 

Round 1, Pick No. 3 - Joe Alt OT (Notre Dame) 

Alt is the son of former Chiefs offensive lineman Jon Alt. The rookie is being touted as the best offensive tackle in the draft, although if you argue strongly for Olu Fashanu, I wouldn’t disagree. Fashanu’s combine was curtailed by a thigh injury, though.

Alt is nearly 6 feet 9 inches tall, and not only is that going to impact what his quarterback can see from the pocket, but it will also give more compact pass rushers a chance to “dip” under his hands as he tries to block.  

But he knocked it out of the park in Indy. Alt clocked the fastest first 5 yards for any lineman in the last two combines. His 14.14 mph was 0.4 mph faster than Wisconsin’s Taylor Bortolini (more of him later).