2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Alijah Vera-Tucker
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Vera-Tucker impressed team evaluators in 2020 as the replacement for left tackle Austin Jackson. The athletic Vera-Tucker played guard for USC in 2019, but he really jumped out with his skill set and ability to win at the point of attack. Vera-Tucker moved to left tackle for 2020 and put together an excellent season protecting quarterback Kedon Slovis. Vera-Tucker was one of the best offensive linemen in college football and showed excellent versatility.
There is a lot to like about Vera-Tucker for pass protection at the next level. He is an easy mover with athleticism, quickness and agility. Vera-Tucker can glide with speed rushers with ease, showing the ability to play the typewriter with his feet. He also is a natural knee bender who maintains good leverage while avoiding bending at the waist. When taking on bull rushes, Vera-Tucker is able to anchor and absorb the rush to keep them from pushing him into the quarterback.
In the ground game, Vera-Tucker is not a bull at the point of attack, but he is effective. He is more of a wall-off-and-position blocker who beats defenders to a spot to cover them up and keep them from making the tackle. He does a nice job of scrapping and keeping his hands fighting to sustain his blocks. It would help him to add strength if his frame isn't maxed out. Vera-Tucker might fit best in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level.
Vera-Tucker could end up as a starting left tackle in the NFL and provide very steady blind-side protection. He could be an excellent guard as well, having Pro Bowl potential there. Vera-Tucker looks like a starting left tackle or guard early in his NFL career and is worthy of being a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. If teams view him as a starting left tackle, he could end up as a top-20 choice. If they view him as a guard, he might be more in the No. 20-32 range.
Player Comparison: Kelechi Osemele. Vera-Tucker reminds me of Osemele in some ways. Both are excellent guards qho have enough size and athleticism to play tackle. Osemele has been a very good pro, and I think Vera-Tucker could follow a similar path.
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