Exploring the Fit of Alijah Vera-Tucker with the Packers
Alijah Vera-Tucker is a 21-year-old, 6’4″, 315-pound guard from Oakland, California. He has been with USC since 2017, playing three of the four years after redshirting his true freshman year. Having attended Bishop O’Dowd High School, where he was an Under-Armour All American as a senior, Vera-Tucker was rated as a four-star prospect and received offers from Washington, Washington State, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, and Arizona before ultimately committing to USC. He would be named first-team All-Pac-12 in 2020, following a second-team All-Pac-12 spot in 2019.
Vera-Tucker is a strong run blocker who can open up lanes for a running back with ease. While he will have learned some pass rush moves from both his time as a defensive end in high school and as a tackle in his final year at USC, his performance at guard was much better than his time at tackle. During his two seasons as a guard, Vera-Tucker got to the second level with ease and picked up linebackers and secondary members. His blocking can help turn the short gains into large ones for an intelligent running back who can spot the lanes Vera-Tucker is opening for them.
Despite spending some of his time at USC playing tackle, Vera-Tucker is much better at run blocking than he is at pass blocking. He is short for a tackle at only 6’4″, which gave him problems with edge rushers during his time at USC. When he left one-on-one with speedy edge rushers in pass protection, it would rarely end well for USC. Unless he can improve this, he will likely lose his versatility at the professional level and limit himself to playing guard at the professional level.
How Alijah Vera-Tucker Fits in Green Bay
Green Bay’s interior offensive line is undoubtedly going to be weaker due to All-Pro center Corey Linsley joining the L.A. Chargers in free agency. While Vera-Tucker may have taken some snaps at left tackle, the loss of Linsley and having the NFL’s second-highest-paid tackle in David Bakhtiari means if the Packers were to take him, most of his snaps would be on the interior of the line.
Vera-Tucker hasn’t played at what is now the Packers offensive line’s weakness, but that doesn’t matter. Green Bay’s current left guard is Elgton Jenkins. Since entering the league as a center, Jenkins has proven that he may very well be the most versatile offensive lineman in the league, taking snaps at all five positions and performing at an elite level at all five positions. The Packers could very easily move Jenkins over to open up a spot for Vera-Tucker.
Odds of Falling to 29th Overall
While not impossible, barring a slide, Vera-Tucker is unlikely to fall to the Packers at pick 29. Despite the stacked class at offensive tackle, the class for the interior of the offensive line is underwhelming. Teams like the Miami Dolphins (18th) and the New York Jets (23rd) are possible landing spots for Vera-Tucker. But should he fall, the Packers should consider bringing him to Green Bay.
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