Former USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker showed just how valuable he was in 2020 after opting back in to help lead the Trojans to a Pac-12 South title.
His versatility and ability to play guard and then move to tackle during a COVID-19 shortened season helped keep quarterback Kedon Slovis' jersey as clean and well protected. Now leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-4 big man got recognized by one of the most sought-after analytical media companies.
According to Pro Football Focus, Vera-Tucker was ranked as the best interior offensive lineman in the 2021 draft class. He's first on a top-five list that has some big-named talents from powerhouse programs, including Wyatt Davis from Ohio State who ranks second, followed by Alabama's Landon Dickerson, Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey and Georgia's Ben Cleveland to round out the list.
PFF also released their 2021 NFL Draft Guide earlier this month, using advanced data to create scouting reports on 150 prospects.
For Vera-Tucker, PFF's Michael Renner writes:
"We already knew Vera-Tucker was a very good guard, but it took him kicking out to tackle in 2020 to see just how much of an all-around player he really is. He put on a clinic at left tackle this past season, allowing only two pressures in his first five games. Watching Vera-Tucker work in space was a sight to behold, though, as he plays such a steady brand of football."
During his tenure at USC, Vera-Tucker allowed a QB pressure on less than 2% of his pass-blocking snaps, which puts him up there with other top-tier lineman. He also finished with the highest grade of 89.2 out of any tackles this past season on true pass-blocking sets by PFF.
The 21-year-old continues to stay atop of almost every ranking, as he has a career 91.9 pass-blocking grade by PFF, which puts him in second place for players entering this years NFL draft, only behind BYU's Brady Christensen.
To add, the 315-pound future pro also finished first in the Pac-12 in PFF's offensive tackle rankings with a grade of 81.3. This also puts him as the seventh-highest graded offensive player at any position in the Pac-12.
No matter where Alijah Vera-Tucker ends up in the NFL, he will be a steal for any franchise. Now we just have to sit back, relax, and wait to see where this extraordinary lineman falls in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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