Alijah Vera-Tucker 2021 NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 314 pounds
School: University of Southern California
Alijah Vera-Tucker Draft Profile
This 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with elite and talented offensive stars. Among the offensive linemen is one of the most consistent and versatile players in USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker. Since his redshirt freshman season in 2018 when he played in all 12 games, the Trojans knew he would be a starter for several seasons. In the 2019 season, Vera-Tucker exceeded their expectations by starting in 13 games at left guard for the Trojans. That season, he was named an AP first-team All-Pac 12 and second-team by the Pac 12. He finished second in the nation of all guards in pass protection efficiency with an 87.9 grade by Pro Football Focus. He allowed only one pressure in the entire 2019 college football season.
Alijah returned for his redshirt junior season this past season. Due to the position need and his experience/leadership on the team, Vera-Tucker started all six games at left tackle for the Trojans. While he wasn’t as dominant as he was in the interior, he was still highly consistent. The biggest trait of his game as a blocker is consistency. One of the most surprising aspects of him overall is his athleticism and how he moves. He is quick and solid as a zone blocker and when he makes lateral movement in pass protection. According to CBS Sports, he is regarded as the fourth-best offensive lineman as well as the top interior offensive lineman. ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has him as the 10th best prospect overall.
- He can play tackle and guard
- Has quick feet and great lateral movement
- When he squares up, he can lock down a pass rusher
- Possesses quick movement when pulling from the line of scrimmage
- High blocking IQ as he can recognize blitz pickups
- Great balance in run and passing plays
- Excellent climber to the second level of the defense
- He is often too high and sometimes lets his defenders move away from him as a result
- Experiences slight hesitation when playing at the tackle position
- Has short arms which will make it difficult for him to play tackle in the NFL
- He isn’t as aggressive as his fellow offensive linemen in the NFL draft
- Can be beaten off-the-edge by speed rushers
- Needs a bit more strength when going into the NFL
- Doesn’t have great hand placement technique in his punches
Teams With Need At The Position: Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team
Projection: Middle of the first round
Bottom Line on Alijah Vera-Tucker
Vera-Tucker has many key traits that will make him a potential multiple Pro Bowl selection at guard. He is highly consistent as well as athletic, which is phenomenal in today’s fast-paced game. In tough situations, the team that drafts him could find his ability to play the tackle position to be highly useful. Whoever drafts him will have the ability to rely on one of the most versatile and consistent offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft. Vera-Tucker comes from a program that demands perfection in the two positions he has played.
The biggest goal for the former Trojan is to develop more strength and proper pad level when going to the NFL. There will be fast edge rushers that he might be unable to secure because of either his short arm-length or his hesitation. There will also be situations where he could be beaten with a bullrush move from a bigger defensive lineman. Vera-Tucker has many overall traits that will make him a consistent offensive lineman. A team with a solid run game and a developing quarterback will likely give the most attention to him in the draft. Teams like the Bengals, 49ers and Browns for example. Of all of the interior offensive linemen in this draft, Vera-Tucker is the one who will likely become an instant starter and future Pro Bowler.