Bengals Trade Proposal Nets Elite Offensive Tackle

Joe Alt

Getty Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt.

The Cincinnati Bengals have one mantra in 2024: Protect quarterback Joe Burrow at all costs. If they can’t do that, they almost certainly will miss the playoffs for a second straight season.

Sports Illustrated’s Nick Faria proposed a trade that would see the Bengals get long-term protection for Burrow by swapping their first two picks — the first round at No. 18 overall and the second round at No. 49 overall — in exchange for the New York Jets’ first-round pick at No. 10 overall and a sixth-round pick.

This would almost certainly guarantee the Bengals would get one of the “elite” offensive tackles available in the draft in Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga … or even maybe Notre Dame’s Joe Alt.

“Should this specific trade happen, the Bengals could get into striking distance for one of the top tackles in the game, and the Jets could add a second-round pick in a very deep draft class to not only acquire more offensive line help but add to the receiver position,” Faria wrote.  “A move that would sure to make former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers extremely happy.”

Consensus on No. 1 Offensive Tackle in 2024 Draft from ESPN

Whatever move the Bengals make, the consensus No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2024 NFL draft will likely be off the board.

ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr., Jordan Reid, Matt Miller and Field Yates all have Alt at No. 1 in their pre-draft position rankings. ESPN has Alt ranked as its No. 5 overall prospect regardless of position.

“Alt is long and quick with outstanding feet and size,” wrote ESPN’s Steve Muench. “He mirrors and recovers well in pass protection. Alt is an excellent fit for zone-heavy schemes and can adjust to moving targets in space; he repeatedly gets off the ball well, shoots his hands, locks on and maintains a wide base in the run game. He also blocks to the whistle, overwhelms second-level defenders and doesn’t back down when opponents challenge him.

After Joe Alt, Healthy Debate Over Best OT Prospect

After Alt, things get a little murkier. While Reid and Miller have Fashanu ranked at No. 2 in their offensive tackle rankings, Kiper and Yates have a different tackle at No. 2 — Alabama’s J.C. Latham.

Only Miller left Latham out of his top four offensive tackles, replacing him with Washington’s Troy Fautanu at No. 4. That sort of variance might mean — since the Bengals can’t make a move to get Alt — trading up might not be worth it if the other top prospects have that little separation.

Latham, 6-foot-6 and 342 pounds, ended his career at Alabama by starting 27 games in a row and was a second-team Associated Press All-American in 2023.

“Bulldozer in human form with the upper- and lower-body power to forcibly evacuate run lanes and instantly upgrade a team’s ground attack,” NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote. “Latham’s body type is girthy, and he has elite drive-blocking talent. He has operated in a variety of run schemes but will be an average move blocker both laterally and when climbing to the second level.”