NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah completed his yearly top-150 prospects list for the 2021 NFL Draft class prior to the start of the event in Cleveland.
Five former USC Trojans entering this year's draft cracked the rankings, with offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker making it into the top-15. As wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu, safety Talanoa Hufanga and defensive lineman Jay Tufele follow in-order.
Vera-Tucker was the highest-ranked offensive guard on the list, and the third-best offensive lineman overall, as Jeremiah considers him to be the 13th-best prospect.
"Vera-Tucker is one of the safest players in this draft class. He played guard at a very high level in 2019 before producing an outstanding campaign at tackle in 2020. He plays with excellent strength, balance and awareness in pass protection.
He is quick out of his stance and has a sharp/quick punch. He can bend and does a good job of staying connected. He will underset at times, allowing defenders on his edge, but he is quick to recover and run them around the pocket.
He squats down versus power rushers and quickly stops their charge. In the run game, he can latch, control and create movement on down blocks. He takes excellent angles to the second level and has a good feel on combo blocks. He isn't the most dynamic athlete, but he's always under control and rarely in bad position. Overall, I think he has a chance to stick at tackle, but he's ideally suited to play guard. He is ready to start on Day 1."
Vera-Tucker's versatility and ability to start right away and play at an NFL-caliber level helped him skyrocket to No. 13 in the rankings. His game projects to match that of NFL offensive linemen right away.
99 spots after the talented lineman sits Amon-Ra St. Brown at No. 112. Jeremiah said in late February that he "loves" St. Brown as a prospect. Stating that his toughness and production while at USC is something that every elite receiver possesses.
Following the pass-catching weapon is DL Marlon Tuipulotu at No. 126. Tuipulotu had a great showing at the senior bowl, and also dominated opposing offensive linemen throughout the 2020 season. He's another former Trojan with great versatility and an NFL-ready game.
At No. 130 is award-winning safety Talanoa Hufanga.
Hufanga's excellent play in 2020 gained him first-team Associated Press All-American and Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Finally, rounding out the former Trojans to make Jeremiah's top-150 prospect list is defensive tackle Jay Tufele.
Although he opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, Tufele is ranked at No. 134. His ranking stems from his sophomore season in 2019, where he was a first-team all-conference selection and the team's top defensive lineman.
He started all 13 contests while contributing 41 tackles, 6.5 for loss, with 4.5 sacks in 2019.
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