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NY Jets Avoid Naming Starters for New First Round Picks

GM Joe Douglas isn't making any promises when it comes to rookies securing play time.

On Thursday April 29, the New York Jets selected USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker at No. 14 overall. 

The Jets drafted BYU QB Zach Wilson as the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but decided to get him some more protection. General Manager Joe Douglas traded up picks with the Minnesota Vikings, No. 23, No. 66, and No. 86 in exchange for pick No. 14 and No. 143.

[NY Jets Select USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker]

"Where we were sitting at 23, we felt we had a unique opportunity to get a top-10 player in our minds," said Jets GM Joe Douglas on Thursday night after the conclusion of the first round.

[WATCH: Joe Douglas Tells Alijah Vera-Tucker He's a NY Jet]

Vera-Tucker will come into the Jets organization and compete against returning starters for a leading role. GM Joe Douglas made it clear that despite Vera-Tucker being a first-round pick, there are no promises being made when it comes to securing play time.

"I think Alijah [Vera-Tucker] like any of our rookies are going to have a great opportunity to come in here and compete. And so I know we have a lot of guys on our offensive line, that have played multiple positions" said Douglas in a press conference. 

"Wether it's Conor Mcdermott playing tackle and guard to Connor McGovern who can play center [or] guard. So [Vera-Tucker] is going to come in a compete and [we will] ultimately have our best five offensive lineman on the field on opening Sunday."

Douglas did mention that he believes Vera-Tucker is 'someone who could help us for a long time here', but he will need to earn his time on the field. 

According to PFF, the Jets offensive line ranked No. 29 out of 32 for 2020 final offensive line rankings. The Jets acquired first-round pick Mekhi Becton in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he impressed his rookie season, but the Jet's O-Line as a whole disappointed.  

"They allowed pressure in 2.5 seconds or less on 28% of their dropbacks — the worst rate in the NFL. The line wasn’t creating many lanes in the run game, either. The Jets averaged just 1.1 yards per carry before contact per rushing attempt in 2020 (30th)."

Vera-Tucker's skill set and versatility gives Jets fans hope for the future, but the real test comes once he gets on the football field and can prove his worth. 

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More NFL Draft News:

[Epic Reactions to NY Jets Drafting AVT]

[How Alijah Vera-Tucker Fits with NY Jets]

[UDFA Tyler Vaughns Signs with Colts]

[Lions Select USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown]


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