2021 NFL Draft: Alijah Vera-Tucker gives Jets brick wall at LG

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

It looked like the Minnesota Vikings were going to make a pick at No. 14 overall, but they traded that to the New York Jets who also made the No. 2 pick in the draft, taking Zach Wilson.

With the 14th pick, the Jets chose Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC, making him the second Pac-12 offensive lineman chosen in the first 15 picks, joining Penei Sewell from Oregon.

Like Sewell, Vera-Tucker was the winner of the Morris Trophy in the final season of his college playing career which is the award given to the best lineman in the Pac-12. Sewell won the award in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season and Vera-Tucker was the conference’s best lineman in 2020. He projects as a guard but played a little tackle at USC and held his own.

Alijah Vera-Tucker is perfect Zach Wilson insurance

The Vikings probably could have used offensive line help, but the Jets were desperate to provide some protection for their top pick.

Not often do teams get an opportunity to take their franchise quarterback and his offensive line protection in the first top 15 picks of the same draft, but the Jets showed some aggression here. New York is no longer content with having an average roster with a mediocre offense and a disappointing offensive line.

Vera-Tucker is going to start at left guard for the Jets for a while. He has the ability to stretch to a right tackle but he’s much better fit for guard and he’s going to be a good one.

Zach Wilson can breathe easier knowing he has this monster protecting him.

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