ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his second 2021 NFL Mock Draft, and USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker keeps a steady hold on the No.14 spot. Kiper released his first mock draft earlier this year and projected that USC's best lineman would land in Minnesota.
On Feb.8 he wrote, "Speaking of rising prospects, Vera-Tucker has scouts around the league buzzing after a tremendous season. He moved from guard to left tackle and dominated for the Trojans. At 6-4, 315 pounds, he could play either position at the next level. The Vikings must solidify their offensive line around Kirk Cousins, even after spending second-round picks on Ezra Cleveland (2020) and Brian O'Neill (2018) in recent years, and Vera-Tucker could be the long-term answer on the left side of the line. Cousins plays best when his running game is humming, and Vera-Tucker is a great run-blocker."
Kiper released his second mock draft on Feb.26 and detailed why AVT didn't see movement on his list.
"I'll stick with Vera-Tucker here because of his versatility. He played guard before moving to left tackle for USC last season. He impressed there and rocketed up draft boards. I think he'll probably stick at tackle in the NFL. We know coach Mike Zimmer will always push for the Vikings to draft a defender, and this could also be a spot for a pass-rusher or defensive back."
Alijah Vera-Tucker is projected to be drafted somewhere in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, due to his consistency, awareness, technique and versatility. Vera-Tucker played both tackle and guard during his time at USC and showed tremendous strength and athleticism in Graham Harrell's pass heavy offense.
Although nearly every mock draft has AVT being selected in the top 30, Sports Illustrated's Inside the Viking writer Will Ragatz believes that his selection to the Vikings could be "high".
He writes, "I like Vera-Tucker a lot and think he'd be a great fit for the Vikings, but No. 14 feels a bit high for a guard."
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